New Year, New You – 7 Keys To Lose Weight and Feel Great

Annette from Miami, Florida writes:

My mother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The doctors say it is early. What can she do each day to help with this? Can she do anything with her lifestyle?

Dear Annette,

Alzheimer’s can be a very sad and scary diagnosis for everyone involved. We are learning more in the nutrition world about what foods directly affect the brain than ever before. It is not just genetics that happens to us. It is our choices every day that determines what type of health we are going to have tomorrow. This is especially true with our brain. The brain's cells can become rigid as we age. This can cause issues like our memory to not stay as sharp. There have been numerous studies that show that the foods that we eat every day directly impacts how well our brain will eventually function. Lets look at some brain healthy foods to help support her memory and her general health overall. Remember, there is always hope for better health. Never say never. The body has an amazing ability to recover and do well. 

1.Salmon
Omega 3 fatty acids are the rock stars of brain health. Wild salmon is probably the best for your brain overall. Other fish such as sardines and anchovies have tremendous benefit as well. The omega 3 fats are amazing support for your memory and empowering your health

2.Lentils
These are one of my favorites. Lentils are loaded with B vitamins, which are essential for the brain. These are easy to add to any meal and are great for fiber as well.

3.Blueberries
Antioxidants are a real key in supporting the brain. Blueberries are loaded with these antioxidants that help to clean out the brain and keep it working in tip -op shape. Free radicals can cause damage when in abundance and the blueberries contain components to help rid the body of these to help better support memory. 

4.Coconut Oil
Known as a saturated fat, coconut oil has some strong properties for the brain. If actually breaks down in the body like a carbohydrate called a MCT, or medium chain triglyceride. The saturated fat in coconut oil is needed to help the omega 3 fats absorb and function better. Look at using some of this special oil to cook with or add to your smoothies. 

5.Beets
Beets have been known for great digestive properties. They help with elimination, constipation, and digestive distress. Now we are learning that the nitric oxide found in beets are great for improving memory and adding oxygen into the cells. They are loaded with folic acid and have been shown in certain studies to delay dementia as we age.  

6.Cauliflower
Full of folic acid and vitamin C, cauliflower has been shown to support against the cognitive decline from aging and help to prevent against Alzheimer’s. 

7.Walnuts
Walnuts may be thought of as one of the superior nuts. They are the nuts with the highest amount of omega 3 fats. Walnuts have been shown in research to improve learning and memory. Just 1-2 oz. a day can improve overall function and cause your brain to be protected from the challenges that come with the aging process.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Annette from Miami, Florida writes:

My mother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The doctors say it is early. What can she do each day to help with this? Can she do anything with her lifestyle?

Dear Annette,

Alzheimer’s can be a very sad and scary diagnosis for everyone involved. We are learning more in the nutrition world about what foods directly affect the brain than ever before. It is not just genetics that happens to us. It is our choices every day that determines what type of health we are going to have tomorrow. This is especially true with our brain. The brain's cells can become rigid as we age. This can cause issues like our memory to not stay as sharp. There have been numerous studies that show that the foods that we eat every day directly impacts how well our brain will eventually function. Lets look at some brain healthy foods to help support her memory and her general health overall. Remember, there is always hope for better health. Never say never. The body has an amazing ability to recover and do well. 

1.Salmon
Omega 3 fatty acids are the rock stars of brain health. Wild salmon is probably the best for your brain overall. Other fish such as sardines and anchovies have tremendous benefit as well. The omega 3 fats are amazing support for your memory and empowering your health

2.Lentils
These are one of my favorites. Lentils are loaded with B vitamins, which are essential for the brain. These are easy to add to any meal and are great for fiber as well.

3.Blueberries
Antioxidants are a real key in supporting the brain. Blueberries are loaded with these antioxidants that help to clean out the brain and keep it working in tip -op shape. Free radicals can cause damage when in abundance and the blueberries contain components to help rid the body of these to help better support memory. 

4.Coconut Oil
Known as a saturated fat, coconut oil has some strong properties for the brain. If actually breaks down in the body like a carbohydrate called a MCT, or medium chain triglyceride. The saturated fat in coconut oil is needed to help the omega 3 fats absorb and function better. Look at using some of this special oil to cook with or add to your smoothies. 

5.Beets
Beets have been known for great digestive properties. They help with elimination, constipation, and digestive distress. Now we are learning that the nitric oxide found in beets are great for improving memory and adding oxygen into the cells. They are loaded with folic acid and have been shown in certain studies to delay dementia as we age.  

6.Cauliflower
Full of folic acid and vitamin C, cauliflower has been shown to support against the cognitive decline from aging and help to prevent against Alzheimer’s. 

7.Walnuts
Walnuts may be thought of as one of the superior nuts. They are the nuts with the highest amount of omega 3 fats. Walnuts have been shown in research to improve learning and memory. Just 1-2 oz. a day can improve overall function and cause your brain to be protected from the challenges that come with the aging process.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Gabe from Florida Writes:

My doctor recently said that I have a higher than normal kidney number on my lab test. He mentioned that I should drink more water and that we need to “keep an eye” on things. What can I do on my own to make sure my kidneys are staying healthy?

Dear Gabe,

Our kidneys are one of our most vital organs in the body. They are major players in the detoxification process. They remove our daily toxins and excessive salts therefore purifying our cells and allowing the body to function at its full capacity. One of our keys to a healthy body is keeping the kidneys running well. There are many natural ways to support the kidneys and keep them functioning well even with the daily environmental toxins that we come into contact with. 

Lets look at some basic natural ways to keep the kidneys in a constant state of cleansing and supporting their optimal functioning.

1.Drink More Pure Water
Consider the right kind of water. There are many debates on this topic of the best water to drink for empowering your health. Being dehydrated puts an undue strain on the kidneys and can cause potential damage. Regular water may increase inorganic minerals and salts that can bog down the kidney function. Look to using distilled water periodically to keep the kidneys working well.

2.Coriander and Parsley
Boiling a combination of coriander and parsley leaves in water and drinking this multiple times a day has been shown to support better kidney function. You may notice a change in urine after a few days but is normal. This combination has been known to remove excessive salts and may help erode any stones that may be forming.

3. Juniper Berries
These berries have been known to support healthy kidney function. You can get the actual berries or find them in an extract form. 

4. Cayenne Pepper
A great addition to any meal, cayenne pepper has been known for its regenerative and stabilizing support toward kidney function. I once saw a man that was in late stages of kidney disease use heavy amounts of cayenne pepper with his holistic nephrologist and do extremely well in his longevity and treatment. 

The bottom line with kidney health is to keep the fluids coming in. The kidneys thrive on clean nutrition and clean living. 

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Sarah from New York Writes:

I travel extensively for work on a weekly basis. I have heard it can be bad for my health. What can I do to protect my body through the constant weekly car and plane travel?

Dear Sarah,

It has been well known in research studies that traveling by plane or car extensively can take a toll on your health in the long term. As a matter of fact, 85% of the root causes of many health challenges we face today have a basis in emotional or environmental toxins. Our environment plays a role in regards to the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the exercise we get, the water we drink, and the stress that we manage.

Travel alone is stressful to the body. I can tell you that I have been traveling for years for my work. There were several years that I was “on the road” for up to 250 days per year. You might not be that level of a road warrior, yet even the occasional eight-hour drive, or four-hour plane flight can be challenging. Any type of travel can create certain stressors that can be detrimental to your vitality and rob you of your energy. One of the main issues with travel is the amount of radiation that we get while in a plane flight. For every 6 hours in the air it is equivalent to a chest x-ray.

Also, whether driving or flying we increase a major stress hormone in our body called cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes us to age faster, wrinkle and sag more, store more body fat, and reduce brain activity. Not good!

So what can you do? It comes down to creating some basic habits that will help you overcome the negative effects of being on the road.

Whether by plane or car, these principles are the same. Keep your routine to maintain your health while on the road.

1.Drink More
Ok so I’m not talking about alcohol. We are made of an estimated 75% water and our cells crave water. When flying, our bodies can become dehydrated much easier due to the altitude. It is easy to want the sodas, coffee, and the juices. If you do have some of those beverages, make sure to follow with plenty of water on the flight depending on how long it is. A good rule is an 8oz bottle of water for every hour you fly or drive. I usually carry bags of green tea in my briefcase. Just add one bag of green tea to your water. It is proven to help lower the stress hormone cortisol. If you are complaining about paying for water because its not free on many flights anymore, fly Delta, it’s still free and my personal favorite airline.

2.Get Up and Walk
Jesus did it, and made others do it too. He was definitely into exercise and for a good reason…kidding but not really. Movement creates a positive impact on our health. As I fly, I notice some people getting up to use the bathroom only to hurry back to their seats. We love to sit, eat, and be entertained. A recent study noted that for every 6 hours we sit, we might take up to 6 years off of our life! Wow! Flight attendants have it the best on the flights because they are always walking to serve others. That is great for their health. Make it a goal to stand for 5 minutes for every hour that you fly and for every 2 hours that you drive. This keeps great blood flow, reduces the chance for a blood clot, and reduces the wear and tear on your spine and posture. In addition our body has it’s own built-in detoxification system. When we move, we pump the lymphatic system and cause the body to help fight against most health challenges.

3.Eat Every 3 Hours
When traveling, it is easy to snack on the junk food and not keep up with your daily eating habits. Blood sugar levels can suffer when you are not in your daily routine. A granola bar instead of a salad, potato chips for lunch because you don’t want to stop driving or your will be late to your meeting. It’s about being prepared. I was asked the other day by a flight attendant why I seemingly had so much packed in my roller board for such a quick trip. It may have looked like all clothes, but I always carry my supplements, healthy nuts and snacks, to help stay on my routine. Because I travel so often, I refuse to let my daily eating habits and lifestyle suffer. Remember you control life each day, or it will control you. A big part of the stress of travel is not getting the right nutrition. Make sure to get a healthy snack or meal every 3-4 hours while traveling to keep your blood sugar stable and get the right nutrients to combat the travel stress.

4.Avoid Sugary Snacks
When it comes to cortisol and stress, nothing will accelerate the hormone more than eating the sugary snacks and sugary drinks. If you get the sweet tooth opt for a piece of fruit and some nuts to help balance the blood sugar and the cravings. While traveling make a goal to drink water or unsweet tea. Most teas, like green tea, have potent antioxidants and polyphenols that can help you improve your health, protect against the aging process and help ward off the toxins from travel.

5.Get Your Rest
When traveling make sure to get your rest. Although some say they will just sleep on the plane or in the car, that sleep is usually not the best. Travel takes a large stress toll on our health so getting proper rest on the day of travel is very important. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep both the night before a big trip and the day of arrival. This will help reduce stress on the body and help balance the overall cortisol levels.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Stephanie From Nebraska Writes:

I am 49 and have just started having hot flashes. My doctor doesn’t want to put me on any hormones just yet. It’s driving me crazy! Is there anything that I can do to settle these down?

Dear Stephanie,

Hot flashes can strike at any moment when you are entering that special season of life. Many times hot flashes can be the result of underlying blood sugar issues, certain nutritional deficiencies, or thyroid dysfunction. If all of those areas have already been tested and ruled out, then there are some great ways to support your body when dealing with hot flashes. Here are some tips:

Learn Your Triggers
Many times certain stressful events or certain foods like caffeine, red wine, spicy foods, or alcohol. Keep a diary of when these certain areas may trigger a hot flash and do your best to avoid them.

Get Regular Exercise
Along with its great benefits for weight management and avoiding many of the health challenges we face today, exercise is now noted by the National Institute of Health to suppress hot flashes. They recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five days per week and 2 days of weight training . 

De-Stress
Stressful situations can increase the adrenal glands fight or flight mechanism. This can increase blood flow and trigger hot flashes. Utilize some different stress management techniques such as yoga, prayer, and deep breathing techniques along with an anti-inflammatory diet

Hydrate
Studies show that hot flashes can increase when you are dehydrated. Aim for the standard of ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. 

Take Control of Your Sleep
Getting into a regular sleep pattern is crucial for maintaining healthy hormones. When our sleep patterns are erratic, then our hormones are erratic. Consider going to sleep regularly before 11pm and getting your 7-9 hours. Also keep the bedroom at a lower temperature. Keeping the bedroom at about 67 degrees has been shown to help our core temperature be in a position to get into a deeper sleep.

Eat More Fat
Fats are the foundation of our hormones. Make sure to make your diet consists of 25 - 30% of dietary fat including nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, fish oil, etc. These fats will not only lower the inflammatory response, but will help support healthy hormone production. This could be one of your secret weapons against the hot flashes.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Dana From California Writes:

I just came back from my family doctor and he said that I have hypothyroidism. He put me on the standard medication and said that I need to follow a healthier eating plan. What does that really mean? I eat healthy foods like salads, fish, and vegetables. What else could I be doing?

Dear Dana,

We have seen a rise in low thyroid function over the last few years.  The thyroid is so important because it controls several functions within the body. It is responsible for our overall metabolism, energy production, mental clarity, and helps support the heart rate. Several factors including environmental, nutritional, and some genetics can play a role with how well the thyroid works. When you have hypothyroidism, it means that the thyroid is starting to break down, for whatever reason. 

One of the greatest tools that we have is the power in the foods we eat every day. Our food can rebuild the body in so many ways. Certain foods can make the body function better or worse. It all depends on our choices. Lets take a look at some foods that should be avoided in order to support the overall metabolism and thyroid function. Keep in mind it is not to avoid these foods permanently, but should be avoided often.

1.Cruciferous Vegetables
Yes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Yes they are healthy but they are considered goitrogenic foods. The reason is these foods can block the body’s ability to absorb iodine. Iodine is essential for the thyroid to function properly. The average is to limit your daily consumption to around 4oz to avoid any potential issues. Also, cooking can reduce some of these effects.

2.Gluten
Avoiding gluten may help increase thyroid function. Most grain-based foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers can be the culprit. Research has shown that gluten irritates the small intestine and may reduce the absorption of thyroid replacement medication. A better option would be the gluten free products. 

3.Soy
The reason this long touted health food is in the line up is how it impacts estrogen. Soy is known to elevate estrogen in men and women. The higher the estrogen, the greater chance for the thyroid to be affected.

4.Trans Fats
Fats found in fried foods have been shown to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone. So consider reducing your fats from saturated sources that would include trans-fats. Also include the healthier fats like fish oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. 

5.Processed Carbohydrates
Sugar and refined flour will be a sure ticket to slow down the thyroid and cause your metabolism to come to crawl. Choose whole foods starchy options like brown rice and sweet potatoes. Avoid fruit juices and sugary drinks as well. The sugar isn’t worth it. 

6.Caffeine
Just go easy on the caffeine. Eight cups of coffee a day could begin to block the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. Tea is usually safe due to its lower levels of caffeine for your health. Opt for lemon in your water. It will give you an energy boost and support you creating a more alkaline environment.

7.Alcohol
Keep it simple. If you have a thyroid condition, you should consider cutting out the alcohol. Even moderation might be too much. Studies have shown that alcohol can really tear down the gland almost similar to a toxic effect.

Along with a detailed eating and lifestyle plan you should be able to support the overall metabolism. Check out our new natural support for the metabolism and thyroid called Metabolic Edge. It’ s loaded with key nutrients to help the body function well and increase well-being. 

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Stone from Oregon Writes:

I am 42 and over the last several months I have been very low in energy. My diet is pretty good and I exercise four to five times per week. My strength has been decreasing and I am not burning the belly fat like I should. My doctor did a blood test and said I have low testosterone. What are your thoughts?

Dear Stone,

These symptoms are like so many men today. Low energy could be the result of many conditions. Low testosterone is a challenge for many men and women today. with their health . When testosterone levels are low it makes it tough to lose weight, regardless of your exercise and eating program. Many times we discuss typical symptoms like fatigue, low libido, and depression. However new research tells us that this deficiency can also affect other areas of the body such as the heart, brain, bones, and body fat levels. The blood test by your physician can tell you if you are low, however, there are some other factors that can help be strong indicators as well. Let’s look at some of the additional signs that you may be struggling with low T.

1.Chest Pains
There has been much discussion over this topic. Numerous studies have now confirmed that lower testosterone can lead to heart attack and even stroke in many cases. So if you have a family history or are experiencing chest pains, see your doctor. 

2.Neuropathy Pain
We often see neuropathy in people with diabetes and other conditions. This is typically a pain in the hands or feet due to the breakdown of nerves. Testosterone and other forms like DHT are very protective to the nerves and can help repair any nerves that may have been damaged due to injury or otherwise chemical reactions such as chemotherapy.

3.Memory Issues
As testosterone goes down, the memory can decline as well. Basic short-term memory is affected due to the decline as well as visual motor tasks. Men who avoid testosterone for prostate therapy see a significant decline in memory. Our cognition is enhanced as we increase our testosterone levels.

4.Struggling With Fat Loss 
Testosterone is an essential weight loss component for the body. When testosterone is low it makes it very challenging to drop the weight. Studies were done and showed that close to 50 pounds was lost on average to lose the weight when testosterone levels were increased. Especially in the mid section and hips. 

5.Dry Skin
If you begin to have chronic dry skin you may be dealing with low testosterone.  Research was done that showed men and women who had low testosterone had chronically dry skin. Also, other conditions were increased such as psoriasis and eczema. An anti-inflammatory diet can help support this as well. 

If you think you may be struggling with low testosterone get a simple blood test from one of your doctors or a lifestyle specialist. There are many natural ways to increase your hormone levels. You can check out my article for improving testosterone levels naturally.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Tabitha From New Mexico Writes:

I have been reading lately about all of these chemicals that might be in our home cleaning products and cosmetics. I have 2 small children at home and I want to make sure the environment is as safe as possible. What are these chemicals and what can I do to ensure my home is safe?

Dear Tabitha,

Many homes contain certain chemicals in some of our cleaning and personal care products that have been warned by the environmental working group. These chemicals may have the potential alter our hormones and create other cellular damage. From food additives to cleaning supplies, certain toxins such as mercury, lead, and arsenic have been removed from many of the products that we use each day. However many hormone – related chemicals have not. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Endocrine Society, we have endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) that appear mostly in our personal care products and healthy home cleaning supplies. We even find them in electronics, pesticides, and keep in mind they can come in contact with us through our skin and ingestion. These chemicals can disrupt the natural hormone processes of the body by affecting our metabolism. 

Although there are not proven direct cause and effect links, many lead researchers agree that the invading of these chemicals have shown promise to potentially produce challenges such as birth defects, diabetes, and obesity. The World Health Organization recently said that the disease risk of EDC’s might be significantly underestimated. With pregnant women and young children being the most vulnerable, most people can still be affected. Along with an anti-inflammatory diet we need to look further at what might need to be done for a healthier lifestyle.

Some common chemicals that are in our home that we should be aware of include some of the following that we se every day. 

Phthalates are mostly used to make plastics. You can easily find these in kids toys, plastic packaging, detergents, and many personal care products. The CDC has linked prenatal phthalate exposure to changes in the male reproductive system and increased allergies.

Another is called Triclosan.  We commonly see this in the anti-bacterial soaps, toothpastes, and cosmetics. Although not harmful, they have been shown to potentially alter our hormone system.

A big one that we see everywhere is called Bisphenol A (BPA). This is used to prevent rusting in the linings of metal cans. It is found in many food containers, canned foods, and some dental products. There have been some strong links to impaired liver function, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even behavioral issues later in life. 

How To Safe-Proof Your Home

You can easily safeguard your home and environment by following these easy steps:

1.Be Careful With Plastic
Avoid microwaving with plastic containers. Use glass, ceramic, or wood to store food. 

2.Make Better Choices
Avoid canned and processed foods and lean toward more natural foods. Buy organic when possible and use only fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Make sure to include a water filter to ensure you are staying away from as many potential chemicals as possible. 

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Welton From Texas Writes: 

I have recently been diagnosed with acid reflux by my doctor and have been taking the medications as suggested. I still seem to be having some issues from time to time. Why is this happening and what can I do to help my situation from getting worse?

Dear Welton,

Digestive issues impact many on a regular basis. There are many factors on why this happens. We are only as healthy as the foods we eat, digest, absorb, assimilate, and eliminate. That being said, we must make sure that our digestive system is in the highest working order to increase our ability to utilize the foods that we eat each day. 

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when our stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid in order to break down our foods effectively. Many would argue that acid reflux is having too much stomach acid, which sometimes that is the case, however, many times it is the lack thereof. As we age, our body loses its ability to produce as much hydrochloric acid (HCL) due to a highly processed diet, high levels of stress, and poor lifestyle habits. We can practice some daily anti-inflammatory routines that can help support a healthier digestive system, especially when it comes to breaking down the foods that we are eating. Lets look at some basic principles that will help your body produce the right amount of HCL and support improving digestion as a whole. Of course, if your doctor has you on a medication, follow their directives. Here are some healthy steps for when your digestion is struggling.

1.Avoid Fluid At Meals
I know this seems awkward. I mean drinking with meals and friends is normal, right? When you go to a restaurant, what do they ask you first? What would you like to drink? When we drink with our meals it dilutes our natural HCL in our stomach. If you are already struggling in this area, then it will only make it harder for your digestive system to work properly. Make a goal to drink mostly before the meal, and only sip during.

2.Eat Whole Foods
Apples are better for you than apple pastries, right? …Right? We want to eat foods in the way they were originally designed to help our body break foods down effectively. Natural whole foods will process digest better than processed foods due to containing more natural enzymes that support the digestive process. 

3.Consider Apple Cider Vinegar
The ultimate grandma remedy. Apple cider vinegar has been used for many different ailments. It is highly beneficial in supporting the body’s digestive system for increasing the HCL that that we need to break down the proteins necessary for optimal digestion. 

4.Eat More Bacteria
Well, the good kind. Good-bacteria, or “pro” biotics, will help the body digest and assimilate your nutrients at a much higher rate. You can increase your foods such as kimchi or fermented dairy such as plain raw yogurt or kefir. If you go with a probiotic supplement, I highly recommend Theralac. The quality matters and the difference is in the manufacturing. Aim for at least 2 billion organisms per capsule.

5.Avoid Gluten
There are different theories about this protein found in most grains products such as breads, pastas, cereals, and crackers. Much of science today tells us that if you don’t have celiac disease (the inability to tolerate gluten), then you should be ok. Many people are not intolerant, such as having celiac, but may have sensitivity. If you suffer with any form of digestive condition, such as acid reflux, you may benefit from avoiding gluten-based foods for about 8 weeks. You may not have to avoid them forever, but at least 80% of time may be a good idea. 

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Dawn from Virginia Writes:

Our family recently went on vacation and my two children were sunburned. We did the best we could while we were there. What can we do naturally to help their skin when this happens in the future?

Dear Dawn,

It is never fun but playing out in the sun can lead us to get the unwanted sunburn. There are many methods to prevent this from happening like avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm, using at least 30 SPF sun protection, and wearing protective clothing. The reality is when you are on vacation, who wants to do all of that? So everyone is in a free-for-all and running around to have as much fun as possible. So when the sunburn comes, here are some natural ways to help the skin repair from the damage that the sun had created. It is important to realize that once you sunburn, your symptoms actually get worse over the next 24-36 hours. These symptoms can stick around for five or more days until the skin begins to heal. There are some great ways to help support the healing of the skin. Here are some of the top natural tips to help skin after a sunburn.

1.Don’t Use Lotion
The skin is burned and the last thing you need to do is cover the skin in a lotion or oil. For health the skin needs to breathe. The skin uses the air as a first line to be able to start the healing process. The lotion or oil will hold in the heat and actually cause more discomfort. 

2. Drink Half Your Body Weight in Water
When a burn happens you want to support your skin from the inside out. Use plenty of water and non-alcohol and caffeine to support the healthy hydration of your cells.

3.Use Aloe 
After 36 hours of the actual burn, now you can safely add some treatment to the external surface of the skin. Anti-inflammatory, alcohol -free aloe is one of the fastest healing liquids we have to nourish and rehydrate the skin. 

4. Stay Out Of The Sun
Even with sunscreen, hit the shade for a few days. The damage will become worse if you get back into the direct exposure of the sun. Allow your skin to heal before getting back into the direct exposure. You can still get out and play in the safe hours before 10am and after 4pm.

5.Use Coconut Oil
Known for its amazing healing properties, coconut oil can safely help you both internally and externally with your skin. A good rule of thumb is to use 2-3 tablespoons with your food during the day and moisturize with the oil both morning and evening. Do this for 7 days post-burn.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Elaine from New Hampshire Writes:

I am 42 and am dealing with some skin issues that I just can’t seem to overcome. I have adult acne and it seems to be getting worse. I also seem to be developing wrinkles and I am so young. Do you have any ideas what might be helpful with improving my skin?

Dear Elaine,

Many times our skin means everything to the way we look and feel about ourselves. We would all love to wake up to flawless skin; the environmental toxins, our daily choices, the sun, and other factors can have other plans for how our skin unfolds in appearance. Adult acne is real and over 85% of people suffered with some form of skin condition at some point in their lives. Our skin can affect our physical appearance and our emotional state and self-esteem. One study mentioned that skin breakouts led to depression and anxiety. So improving our skin can lead to a higher quality of life. There are some basics that we can follow to keep our skin healthy and vibrant, even against the aging process. 

1.Eat More Fish
The omega-3 fats found in fish such as salmon, halibut, and wahoo, make a great cosmetic solution and should be a regular part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Remember our skin health begins from the inside out. The omega -3 fats are not found too often in our diet and play a major role in our skin’s health. 

2.Wear SPF 30 Every Day
Sunscreen does matter. The wear and tear of the suns UVB and UVA rays will take its toll over time. Studies have been done to show that skin protection can reduce the aging process considerably. Do your best to avoid parabens and chemicals. Look for the organic versions of the sunscreens. 

3.Check Your Vitamin D
Your doctor can easily give you a vitamin D blood test to check your levels. Keep your numbers between 60-80 on the labs. This is in the upper end of the range. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and can affect the protective levels of our skin. Think you get enough Vitamin D form the sun? Think again. After the age of 50 our ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun decreases by 50%. Make sure you take a supplement that also has Vitamin K2 in it as well such as K2/D3.

4.Eat More Bacteria
What?! Yes eat more bacteria. Probiotics (good bacteria) is essential for our overall skin health. When our gut is healthy, then our skin will be a direct reflection. You can take probiotics in many different forms such as yogurt, keifer, fermented vegetables, kombucha tea, and many vegetables contain pre-biotics. These natural foods will help heal the gut flora and increase your overall skin tone. 

5.Drink More Water
If you talk to many physicians they will tell you that you can notice if someone drinks a lot of water or if they don’t. Hydration is a huge key for glowing skin. Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces of water with half of those ounces in green tea. The green tea has more research articles on antioxidants and how it supports healthy skin.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Wendy from Wisconsin Writes:

I have been struggling with osteoarthritis for years. My doctor hasn’t put me on any medications yet and I really would like to avoid them. What can I do in my daily routine to help avoid the pain and discomfort?

Dear Wendy,

I am glad to hear that your doctor is working with you to help come up with a better plan! Arthritis comes in many different forms, yet the concept is the same. With arthritis, you are dealing with inflammation and it can occur as a result of many different factors. Our daily lifestyle is the main culprit in raising the inflammation throughout the body. The foods we eat, the liquids we drink, the air we breathe, the rest we get, the amount we move, and the stress that we manage will all determine the kind of health and the quality of life that we will experience. 

As we simply move each day, our body produces components called free radicals that can damage our body in various ways, cause tissue breakdown, and accelerate the aging process. We can fight this with powerful substances and nutrients called antioxidants. Antioxidants are found in the brightly colored fruits and vegetables. The challenge is that only 1.5 percent of Americans eat fruits and vegetables daily! We can drastically improve our health by simply adding these nutrients to our everyday diet. Here are some osteoarthritis busting foods to incorporate to your daily eating plan.

1.Oranges
Loaded with vitamin c, oranges are known to be power packed in their ability to fight free radicals. The high vitamin c in oranges has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation. It also can help improve skin tone and support damaged cartilage.

2.Beets
A dark colored vegetable, beets are loaded with vitamins A and C. Most of the antioxidants are found in the red pigment and also contain magnesium, vitamin B9, and manganese. If you are constipated regularly, consider adding beets to your evening meal. Chronic constipation is linked to excess inflammation in the body.

3.Spinach
Spinach, with its deep green color, is loaded with plenty of antioxidants to support fighting the free radicals and supporting healthier joints. The pigments found in spinach are great for empowering your health.

4.Muscadine Grapes
The absolute powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants. With an ORAC value of 895, he muscadine grape surpasses almost every food with its free radical fighting capacity. Studies are being done currently on how powerful the actual grape is for a variety of health challenges. 

5.Tart Cherries
Loaded with strong antioxidants called anthocyanins, tart cherries are well known for their ability to fight the free radicals and reduce the pain and inflammation within the joints. Uric acid crystal formation can cause extreme arthritic conditions and the tart cherries have been shown to be helpful.

6.Broccoli
Broccoli is one of our top antioxidant foods that we have. Broccoli can help fight many of the negative effects of arthritis and help build the joints by lowering the inflammation. Some of the top components of broccoli are lutein, zeanthin, and beta-carotene. 

7.Walnuts
Nuts contain some great nutritional value in how they support lowering overall total body inflammation. With osteoarthritis, walnuts have a high concentration of omega-3 fats and can improve much of the inflammation within the joints.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Cynthia from Arizona Writes:

I am dealing with a lot of muscle cramps and general female issues associated with menopause. My doctor can’t find anything wrong except a low magnesium reading on my lab work. Could this be part of it?

Dear Cynthia,

Magnesium plays a huge role in our everyday health. I really think it underestimated in how important it is in all that we evaluate in healthcare. It is important to nearly every cell and function within our body.  It can cut your risk for a heart attack, lowers inflammation, builds the immune system, and can even reduce diabetes by up to 33%. I am a big fan of getting magnesium into our diet each day using whole foods as much as possible. Here are some of my top picks for foods that contain magnesium and can support the body to thrive.

1.Nuts and Seeds
Just a handful of nuts each day can give you a great supply of magnesium. Some of the top sources are sunflower seeds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds. You can go old school with a spoonful of cashew butter of sunflower butter.

2.Avocado
Probably one of the world’s top super foods. In addition to being an all around disease fighter, avocados are loaded with magnesium. Add to a meal or salad each day to get a great amount of magnesium into your diet. 

3.Salmon
The wonder fish. Eat more than three times per week to get all the nutrients for you need like omega -3 fatty acids and a ton of magnesium.

4.Swiss Chard
One of the least eaten vegetables, yet contains the highest amounts of magnesium. Add some swiss chard to a leafy salad or blend into your favorite green smoothie. Tons of magnesium with minimal calories for your health.

5.Green Bananas
Loaded with great nutrients like pre-biotics, the green banana has almost 31 mg of magnesium depending on the size. You can eat on the go by itself, or add to a smoothie. Green bananas are loaded with fiber too, which increases the slow release of nutrients into the system and increases digestion.

6.Dark Chocolate
Woo hoo! Yes, I said chocolate! Loaded with magnesium you can add about 2 squares of 80% or greater to boost your overall magnesium for the day. Also this can help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.

7.Goat Milk Yogurt
Although thought of for the calcium content, goat milk is loaded with magnesium that can support calcium absorption and affect many of the body’s processes. Adding a 6oz cup before bed has been shown to increase sleep and calm the nervous system and improve your lifestyle

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Carlton from North Carolina Writes:

I am looking for some natural ways to slow the aging process. I exercise several times each week. I am sleeping better and handling the stress in my life. What are some extra tricks to help with my skin tone, vitality, and looking and feeling younger when it comes to aging?

Dear Carlton,

It seems like everyone wants to turn back the clock. You are definitely following some of the best lifestyle-based direction by exercising, eating well, sleeping more, and managing stress levels. Along with the anti-aging basics, there are some powerful nutrients that aren’t discussed often that could be right in your backyard…depending on where you live. The best anti-aging ingredients for our bodies come right from our largest water supply, the ocean. We might think that the labs and chemicals can produce the best results, however, the Great Physician had it right when He designed the sea and all the nutrition that lies beneath the waters. Lets look at some of the essentials that we can use from sea life that can improve our health, increase the glow of our skin, and turn back the clock.

1.Algae
Brown and red algae contain a powerful sugar complex that improves the skin's overall function and tone. The algae helps to protect the moisture within the cells and helps keep a higher level of hydration by empowering your health within the cells. The brown algae contains a key component called fucosterol, which helps to decrease the inflammation within the skin and protect it from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

2.Squalene 
This is a powerful moisturizing agent that is found in sea plants. It helps to keep the skin from premature wrinkling and keep its elasticity along with following an anti-inflammatory diet. The agent is used in many skin care products that are organic in nature.

3.Sea Holly
Found deep within the ocean, sea holly helps to keep the layers of skin in tact and increases new skin cells to be formed. This will keep that tight, youthful look that everyone is searching for, particularly on the face.

4.Fish
The fish proteins contain certain protein peptides that can increase the collagen production within the skin. This will reduce the excess wrinkling and sagging that often comes along with the aging process. The proteins work alongside the omega 3 fatty acids typically found in fish as well.

5.Seaweed
Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, seaweed contains high levels of vitamin E and C to keep our bodies in shape. These high amounts of antioxidants protect the cells of the body and increase our collagen production. It contains nutrients that also support healthy thyroid function and help to reduce redness and most skin inflammation.

6.Sea Fennel
Known for its protective properties to most of our cells, sea fennel is loaded with chlorogenic acid that helps to fight off the aging process. We constantly have free radicals that come in and attack our healthy cells by a process called oxidation. When we get older and see “brown spots”, that is a sign of skin damage and the aging process. The sea fennel can reduce this pigmentation and lighten the areas of current pigmentation. Many organic cosmetics are using this now to enhance skin tone.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Deanna from California Writes:

I have been very tired lately and having some weird symptoms such as excess urination and thirst. My doctor says I have the beginning stages of pre-diabetes. Is it possible to restructure my lifestyle and get my health back on track?

Dear Deanna,

You are not alone. Type 2 Diabetes affects millions of Americans today. It is truly becoming a major part of our health crisis and there is so much that can be done to avoid it and begin empowering your health. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when we eat the wrong kinds of foods each day and it causes our bodies to produce too much insulin as a result to manage the excess blood sugar from the cakes, cookies, pasta, and donuts that we typically eat as a nation. The great news is that if you are headed in the direction of a possible diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, there are some drastic lifestyle choices that you can make to get yourself out of this tough health challenge and get back inshape. Let’s look at some of the typical signs of the onset of type 2 diabetes and what we can do to make better choices.

1.You Are Thirsty Often
The more we urinate, the more we require additional fluids. If you find that nothing else has changed in your daily routine and you are thirstier than normal, you may be leaning toward type 2.

#DIY
New research shows that adding cinnamon to your foods is a great way to support healthy blood sugar and decrease excess urination.

2.Increased Urination
If you have to urinate a lot more than usual, this could be a sign of having excess blood sugar. The kidneys respond to excess blood sugar by making us urinate more. 

3.Feeling Hungry Often
Getting our sugar into the cells is a good thing. When you have type 2 diabetes, then we are unable to use the blood sugar. It will just stay in our blood and can cause more insulin ( a hormone) to be sent out. This makes us amazingly hungry.

#DIY
Eating more frequent meals with a protein, fat, and healthy carbohydrate will help balance blood sugar levels and decrease hunger cravings. Aim to eat every 2-3 hours.

4.Painful Feet
Ever heard of neuropathy? Type 2 diabetes can cause extreme nerve pain called diabetic neuropathy. It starts with some tingling and numbness and can progress to severe pain that needs medication. This needs to be treated immediately at the first sign. 

#DIY
There are many natural ways to help this including an anti-inflammatory diet. There is also research on vitamin B6 to be helpful.

5.Lower Immune System
When blood sugar is constantly elevated our ability to have more infections is increased. We tend to get sicker, more often. 

#DIY
Increasing antioxidant rich foods that are low glycemic can help you in increasing the immune system. Try a smoothie with the Daily Meal Complete to help support healthy blood sugar levels.

6. Its Harder To See
Our vision can be impaired when our lens of the eye is affected. When blood sugar levels are elevated, our lens is made to be more rigid and does not flex, as it needs to. The eye muscles have a difficult time rearranging the focus.

#DIY
Omega 3 fats such as fish oil and flax oil can help balance blood sugar while supporting eye health at the same time. My personal favorite is cod liver oil.

7.Losing Weight For No Reason
When we can’t use the blood sugar from our carbohydrates due to the extra fluid loss, then we will lose weight. We need healthy carbohydrates to be stored in our

These are some of the most common signs and symptoms to look for if you are dealing with the potential for diabetes. There are many dietary and lifestyle choices that you can make to get past it. Remember, your health is your greatest wealth. The choices you make today can and will determine the health you will have tomorrow.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Sylvia From Nebraska Writes:

Over the past few months I have been catching a lot of colds. I always seem tired and don’t have that much energy lately. I am in a tough relationship at the moment and my friend mentioned it might be due to me being so angry. Could this be true?

Dear Sylvia,

Emotions are the main driver of our health. In my opinion, and with many medical studies, we know that about 85% of the root cause of most health challenges are caused by emotional and environmental toxicity. When we are constantly in a state of frustration or anger toward someone or something, it triggers a stress response in our bodies that can be detrimental to empowering your health. Some people are constantly angry. They just can’t forgive and forget. If we could learn to be more forgiving and move on past the hurt and anger, it can make remarkable strides in our health. Just be like the Disney Frozen song,” Let it Go!”

Now studies have shown that being constantly angry can be very tough on our physical health as well as our daily energy levels. There are some ways to help remove the anger nutritionally, however, we must become aware enough of our emotions to be able to control our anger. Anger can be a good emotion, if handled in a quick manner and expressed in a healthy way. However, when you hold anger inward, or blow up at people, that is very unhealthy, and can create some damaging effects in the long term. Here are some important keys to keeping your temper under control.

1.Lower Immune Function
People who are angry get sick more often. It’s true. Studies have now confirmed this. When you get angry, it causes a 6 hour dip in the immune system called immunoglobulin A. This is our main defense against any type of infection. One way to cope is to use humor and rebuild your thoughts. 

Nutritionally you can consider using L-Theanine, and amino acid that helps support certain brain chemicals like GABA.

2.Depression Can Result
Depression can result from repressed anger. Holding the anger in and never taking action will cause you to potentially deal with depression. It creates a drop in the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can cause low mood and become a repetitive cycle. 

A great way to get out of this cycle and improve your mood is to find an activity that you enjoy like biking, a new sport, gardening, or a team-based event.

3.Lung Disease
You are not a smoker but are angry? Guess what it may be just as damaging. Harvard scientists did a study and found that lung function decreased and had increased inflammation with higher levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Being angry also decreases lung capacity. We always talk about cancer being the number one killer in America today. But did you know what type of cancer? You guessed it, Lung cancer by almost 33%. 

The answer? Pick an activity that you enjoy and get involved to help you get in shape. Also, consider L-Taurine, and amino acid that has been proven to rebuild lung tissue and support healthy lung function.

4.Decreased Life Span
Another reason to chill out and drop the anger is that it may shorten your life! Stress is tightly linked to our overall health picture. There was a recent study that people who hold their anger in have shorter life spans than those who let it out. Learn to directly tell people what you are mad about and why. Communicating in a constructive way can help the entire situation, most of all your health.. 

Exercise is a great stress reducer. Choose your favorite activity and do it 5-6 days per week. Just 15 minutes a day of an activity can help support a healthy outlook and overall immune system. It is true that happier people live longer!

5.Decreased Heart Health
Anger is not good for the heart. Your risk of a heart attack doubles just 2 hours after an angry outburst. Studies done at Wake Forest University showed the impact of this on our overall health. Those that hold their anger in just to control it are twice as likely to have some form of coronary artery disease. When we were younger we used to say to someone that was angry, “Don’t have a coronary!” I didn’t even know what that meant. I just thought it was sarcastic and funny. Now, we know that it does. 

The best way to avoid these negative health issues is to speak up regarding your anger and be constructive. Another great tool is yoga. Yoga empowers the body and the mind. 

Anger is a normal emotion and a healthy one. The greatest tool is to find a positive way to express your anger and do it quickly and effectively. Deal with it and let it go. 

Your Best Days Are Still Ahead…

Choose to thrive, your health depends on it.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Ray from Mississippi Writes:

I have been following your inShape Plan for over a month and lost close to twenty pounds! Thank you! I am looking for some new snacks between meals. What are some new options to help keep the variety but also keep burning the fat?

Dear Ray,

Great news on dropping the weight! The best is yet to come my friend. For healthy snacking there are a lot of options. Remember it is important to keep the fuel coming in so the metabolism stays high. Of course, it has to be the right kind of nutrients. Mainly keeping the foods anti- inflammatory to maintain great gut health and increase optimal absorption. Here are some of my favorites that we use to get outstanding results for healthy weight loss.

1.Apple Slices with Sesame Tahini
Great for protein, healthy fats, and fiber. 

2.Hummus and Carrot Sticks
Hummus provides a balance of all nutrients to curb your cravings.

3.Organic Popcorn
Do in limited quantities. Has plenty of fiber.

4.Organic Kale Chips and Salsa
Great phytonutrients and extra greens for the day. Helps fill you up without filling you out.

5.Goat Cheese
Plenty of protein, fats , and probiotics for a healthy gut!

6.Olives and an Orange
Great monounsaturated fats that power the brain and keep the waistline thin.

7.Gluten Free Slice of Bread, Sunflower Butter, and Raw Honey
Great for a throwback to the PB and J days. Great as an energy pick-me-up.

8.Handful of Nuts and ½ Apple
Easy and simplistic. Fiber, protein, and low glycemic carbohydrates.

9. Cup of Organic Goat Milk Yogurt Plain with Stevia
Great at night before bed. The calcium will help your sleep and probiotics for the gut.

10.1-2 Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
Plenty of protein and healthy fats. Eggs can help you gain muscle and lose the extra fat.

11.Avocado Slices Wrapped in Nitrite-Free Turkey 
A quick snack for protein and healthy fats. A great treat to beat the afternoon slump.

12. Gluten Free Mini Pizza 
Use Udi’s gluten free bread, goat cheese, and salsa. It cuts the craving for pizza and gives you a steady source of nutrition. 

13. Chocolate Almond Milk
Make with cocoa, unsweetened almond milk, and stevia. A quick drink for those on the go.

14.Organic Protein Shake
My top choice. Use an organic powder like our Daily Meal Complete that gives you all the essential fatty acids, enzymes, and vitamins and minerals that you needs for the day.

15.Cottage Cheese with Blueberries
Getting plenty of calcium and power nutrients in the blueberries.

16.Green Banana and Almond Butter
Go green with the banana. Loaded with digestive support and a lower sugar count. Once the banana turns yellow the glycemic index almost doubles. Go green for fat loss and mix with the almond butter for a proven waistline reduction.

17.Raw Vegetables
The obvious. Grab some celery and carrot sticks and off you go!

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

 

Teryn from Maryland Writes:

Arthritis tends to run in my family. I am 46 and recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My doctor says I don’t need medicine yet. What can I do with my lifestyle to help me from this progressing?

Dear Teryn,

Joint pain can come in many forms and can strike anyone at any age.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a challenge within itself. The immune system is beginning to think there is something wrong with the joints and begins to attack them as some kind of invader to the body. There are some natural solutions and you may find some of them in your local coffee shop. According to some new studies, certain teas have strong and even therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce joint stiffness, and even lessen the pain. Tea has been known to be a great addition to your medical treatment. Make sure your doctor knows in case there are any concerns. Otherwise, here are some great liquids that may help ease the pain Drink up!

1.Green Tea
Green tea has many potent properties that can help increase our metabolism, burn body fat, lower the risk of most diseases, and reduce arthritis pain and inflammation. The component is called EGCG, a powerful catechin called epigallocatechin. A what? It is basically a natural chemical that helps block certain inflammatory processes in the body. The only challenge is that green tea may interfere with folic acid metabolism. So if you think you might be pregnant, check with your doctor.

2.Black Tea
A Southern favorite. Rich in a strong chemical called quercitin that has amazing anti-inflammatory  benefits.  The research is showing that the quercitin has strong properties in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and preventing joint damage.

3.Nettle Leaf Tea
Used for years in Europe for helping symptoms associated with gout, arthritis, joint and muscle pains. The stinging nettle plant releases chemicals underneath the plant that can cause a stinging sensation when touched. These symptoms have been shown to help reduce levels of inflammation in the body. Although the taste is not the best, the effects have been shown to be hopeful.

4.Ginger Tea
Ginger root has long been touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Along with its great benefits in empowering your health, it also plays a significant role in helping the body rid itself of some joint pain, specifically certain forms of arthritis. You can easily pick up any ginger root at the grocery store. Slice it and steep in hot water and it makes for a pleasant scented drink that can ease the pain. It does act as a blood thinner so be cautious of you are taking thinning medications. Consult your doctor if you aren’t sure.

5.Rose Hip Tea
High in vitamin C, rose hips are known to lower joint-related pain, stiffness, and discomfort. The rose hip tea is typically combined as with hibiscus tea for its unique flavor and bright red color. Studies were done with people having joint pain in their hip or knee and utilizing the rose hips for a great result.

 

Bio

Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

  • Get your FREE copy of the new Anti-Inflammatory Diet Success Plan
  • Check out my recent Ask Your Question article on hormones 
  • Read my latest food for thought blog on bananas
  • Improve your fitness with my new discoveries on cardio

 

Elena From Boston Writes:

I am 53 and have just gone through menopause. My doctor is suggesting that I consider hormone replacement therapy. My friend had a negative experience with HRT. What are my options? Can I do anything naturally?

Dear Elena,

There is much confusion regarding hormone replacement therapy. For many years we have thought that adding hormones like estrogen can increase bone density and fight against cancer. There was a recent Women’s Health Study that found that women over the age of 60 that took hormones such as estrogen and progesterone were at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. There are certain considerations for their usage. Most doctors say it’s based on biochemical individuality. Knowing your family history for heart disease and cancer is important as it does play a small, yet significant, role. Her are some basic tips to consider when thinking about hormone replacement therapy.

1.Enhances Your Mood
Adding hormones to your routine post –menopause may help support better moods. Many women who use HRT report notice less irritability and better stability in the way they feel from day-to day.

2.Bioidentical Compounding Creams
The creams can be a great option. The great concern is when your body has stopped producing as much of a particular hormone on its own. The bio identical creams are a great option to help mimic what your body originally produced. Depending on the pharmacy, the formulation can make a tremendous difference in the way a person feels.

A great Natural Pharmacy for compounding creams is AmericanPharmacyCompany.com – Click here

3.Look At The Lab Tests
There is some strong validity in testing hormones with lab blood and saliva testing. Some experts think they yield good results.. The numbers can be a powerful tool to show where a person is with their hormone levels and what action needs to be taken. After the age of 45 its good to test the hormone levels about every 6 months with your doctor. 

4.Great For Your Heart
Women who followed a routine for their hormones post-menopause saw a greater reduction in heart disease over a six-year period.  This was due to a reduction in atherosclerosis. It is important to follow up with your doctor every 6 months to see where your levels are and make sure you are on the right track. 

5.You Are What You Eat
What a woman eats daily will greatly affect her outcome with hormone levels, regardless of her age. Fats are a crucial aspect of a woman’s daily routine. The healthy fats with the omega -3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and various vegetables can create a positive environment for hormones to continually be produced in the correct manner. 

Natural Tip: Make a goal to eat .55 x Your Bodyweight 

This ratio will ensure that each day your body is getting the amount of healthy fats that you need.

6.Helps Overactive Bladder
Many women may experience issues with their bladder as they go through menopause. This is due to a weakening in the muscles in the area. New studies have shown that specific hormone cream delivered vaginally may help decrease these types of symptoms. 

7.Don’t Just Do It!
Not every woman needs some form of replacement. Don’t just do it because your friend at the club is doing it. Get the tests done. Ask your doctor. See what is right for you. And look at your symptoms. If you don’t have any weird symptoms, then you may be cruising right through this time of life and be thriving on your own. I’ve seen it happen many times.

Tommy From Arizona Writes:

My greatest challenge recently has been losing the belly fat. I have been exercising and eating healthy for the last several years. My doctor says everything is fine. I am 56 and I feel like my body is not working the way it used to. My energy levels are down as well. Any thoughts?

Dear Tommy,

The fact is that our body does slow down some as we age. A few unique steps that are controlled by our daily lifestyle choices affect our metabolism. The way our body uses energy directly affects how our body handles shedding the pounds. Here are some basic triggers that can cause our metabolism to slow down and pack on the pounds, and what to do about it.

1.Our Eating Habits
We are what we eat. As we age we may think it is better to skip meals and cut back on the calories. The opposite is true. Our metabolism will actually slow down if we cut back. Multiple meals throughout the day is a sure way to get the body fat melting away. Never miss breakfast is still true today. Our metabolism thrives on the right amount of the right nutrients to fuel each day.

2.Stress
Stressful situations increase the release of cortisol in our bodies. This is our body’s primary stress hormone. We need it for certain situations, however, not 24/7. Constant release of this hormone will create excess belly fat, disrupt sleep patterns, and eat away at lean muscle tissue. Consider your lifestyle, relationships, and look at supplements like green tea extract and phosphatidylserine. 

3.Age 
Age does matter. Our cells don’t metabolize as well the older we get. However the one agreement for anti-aging in research is exercise. It is suggested to offset the aging process a person needs about 150 minutes of exercise per week. Although you can’t turn back the clock, you can slow it down. Aim for each major muscle group to be exercised twice per week.

4.Hormones
A healthy thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glandular system needs to been evaluated. The thyroid is a major aspect of the metabolism. Certain nutritional and environmental factors may contribute to the thyroid not working effectively. Blood work by your physician is a great way to see if there are any systems that are causing the metabolism to be affected.

5.Sleep
Through numerous studies it has been shown that not enough sleep can be a culprit in the battle of the bulge. Poor sleep can cause the metabolism to shift and decrease the hormone balance. Make it a goal to get between seven to nine hours per night.

Jose from California Writes:

My wife has been telling me recently that my breath smells like fruit. I have included more fruits and vegetables into my diet recently. Is this what could be causing the fruity breath?

Dear Jose,

Way to go! Glad you are eating more fruits and vegetables. The fruity breath could be of a concern. Sometimes halitosis (bad breath) could be a sign of something else occurring in the body. Poor dental hygiene is the typical cause for the odor; however, any scent from the breath could be a sign of something more serious. There are now clinical ways to examine what the breath may actually be telling us about our health. Here are some basic signs to look for outside of not using the toothbrush and floss!

1.Lung Cancer
The odorless one. Breath tests are now becoming a standard in detecting lung cancer. Even with no particular odor, a new “electronic nose” can be used for early detection.

2.Acetone Breath
Commonly called fruity breath can be a serious condition known as ketoacidosis. This occurs typically with patients that have diabetes. The body begins to use fatty acids for energy and the fruity breath is the result.

3.Renal Disease
When the kidneys are struggling someone might be told they have a fishy-type of breath. This is due to the excess build up of ammonia from the urine. The kidneys become so damaged that they are unable to filter all the waste out of the blood. 

4.Sleep Apnea
Your spouse is snoring link a freight train. You are so in love that you lean over to kiss them and their breath smells like a sour apple? Think sleep apnea. The lack of saliva production can cause this. Consider having them get a sleep study from their primary care physician.

5.Reflux 
Also known as GERD (Gastroesophogeal reflux disease). This is when food doesn’t move effectively through the digestive tract. The food can slow so much that it starts to decay and putrefy. This foul-smell is a tell tale sign that you are not digesting well. Also look for consistent burping and flatulence.

6. Respiratory Infections
A leading cause of foul breath. Typically the mucous and drainage will cause this. This should resolve after the infection has cleared.

7.Gingivitis
Poor dental hygiene is the number one cause of bad breath. Regular visits to your dentist will help. Daily hygiene is important to include gentle brushing and flossing. If the tooth enamel begins to decay, then food particles can lodge in the small dental caries. This is a consistent way to increase halitosis.

Cara from New Hampshire Writes:

I am frustrated. Many of my friends are seemingly effortlessly thin. They drink their coffee, drink wine, and indulge in junk foods, yet don’t seem to gain any weight. I’m 37 and have gained over thirty pounds recently.  I eat healthy and exercise about 3 days per week. What could I be doing wrong?

 

Dear Cara,

I know it seems frustrating when everyone else around you seems to be thin and doing whatever he or she want to do with their lifestyle. Then there you are eating carrot sticks and water and going, “What’s the deal?” I get it. Many times you have to look at the big picture. There are different body types and varying metabolic rates that can control what a person can eat and what they can’t. First you want to look and see how your overall metabolism is working. You can check with your doctor and they can get some labs that will show you if there are any metabolic or nutritional deficiencies and then you can construct a powerful strategy around that. 

The good news is that you don’t have to be super-strict on your lifestyle habits to stay thin. You can enjoy your life. Here are some basic principles that most people who manage their weight will adhere to. 

1.Eat Smaller Portions
Sounds simple, right? Eat less and exercise more? It’s true that you need to cut back on the calories. Just make sure they are good calories. It ok to go for thin, just make sure it’s broccoli-thin and not donut-thin.

2.Stop Eating When Full
The brain will tell the stomach its full after about 20 minutes. Don’t push it.

3.Eat More Home Cooked Meals
Be in control of the quality of your food and the calories.

4.Eat Breakfast Every Day
This gears up the metabolism and helps set the stage for healthy weight managing hormones for the day.

5.Exercise Consistently
Just get moving. I don’t care what it is. Walking, jogging, zumba, hot yoga, weight lifting. Just make it happen. We sit all day long and you will struggle to hot your goals if you are not moving. Aim for 5 days per week.

6.Avoid Skipping Meals
This causes the metabolism to slow down and can halt your goals for maintaining a healthy weight.

7.Eat Your Vegetables
Only a small percentage of Americans actually eat fruits and vegetables. Load up on these fiber-rich and nutrient dense foods that can make you feel full without all the extra calories.

8.Follow The 90/10 Rule
I always teach to eat well 90 percent of the time and 10 percent you can do what you want. That is when you can hang with your thin friends and have a latte, or some indulgence that you enjoy. The body responds well if you have a good routine in place.

These are some basics that will help guide you regardless of your body type and overall metabolic profile. 

Steed From North Carolina Writes:

I am 38 years young and I have a strong family history of heart disease. My doctor says I should eat healthy and exercise. I understand that, but what else can I do to make sure I stay ahead of any potential heart issues?

Dear Steed,

It’s great to hear that you want to stay ahead of the game with your health. Heart disease is now the No. 1 leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC says that heart disease claims about 600,000 lives each year with more women than men dying of heart disease. Regardless of your age, certain genetic factors may come into play around 15-20%, however how efficiently the heart can deliver oxygen is the key to maintaining great energy, youth, and vitality. Here re some basic steps to help you stay ahead of the game and on top of optimal heart health.

1.Know Your Vitals
What is your cholesterol number? Don’t just accept the doctor telling you it’s normal; ask for a copy of your results. The numbers should be under 200 total. The LDL (bad) cholesterol should be under 100 and the HDL (good) cholesterol should be above 50. Your blood pressure should be hovering around 120/80. Also don’t forget to check your heart rate and rhythm. Your resting heart rate should be between 60-100 and if you’re an athlete around 40. 

Also check for inflammation. Your doctor can get you a blood test for Cardio CRP. It is a simple test that checks for general cardiac and body inflammation. Less than 1 is risk is very low, 1-3 is an intermediate risk, and above 3 is a higher risk.

2.Detox Your Breathing
Most statistics say that 80-90% of heart disease is caused by our lifestyle choices. Guard your environment. Avoid smoking and toxins in the air for preventing premature aging of the arteries. Spend more time outdoors in the fresh air, and consider home air purification systems. 

3.Increase Exercise
Getting regular exercise helps people to live longer. The reason is that it helps reduce the fat plaguing in the arteries. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Even if the heart is not conditioned, Aim for 20 minutes per day as a goal. Even if the heart is not conditioned well, over time it will adapt and can increase longevity.

4.Eliminate Processed Foods
The processed foods contain trans fats and sugars that can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system. The simple sugars can raise blood pressure and triglycerides, and lower the good cholesterol (HDl). Your CRP blood test can determine what your inflammatory marker is. Consider adding fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and fish to support reducing inflammation. 

5.Eat More Fat
Yes that’s what I said. Fats don’t make you fat, the right fats can actually improve overall heart health. Aim for about 30% of your diet in the healthy fats such as avocado, olive, grape seed, coconut, and fish oils.

6.Get Your Sleep
The right amount of sleep has been shown to help overall heart function. When we sleep, our heart rate slows down and our blood pressure drops. The new studies say that 7 hours of sleep is ideal for reducing heart disease and less than that or sleeping too long can increase it almost 10 times.

7.Moderation Is The Key
With alcohol this is definitely the case. Daily alcohol can be very stressful to the heart. Yes, even wine. Studies tell us that aiming for about 2 drinks per ay for women and about 3 for men. Go easy on the alcohol. It can lead to challenging issues such as atrial fibrillation. 

8.Manage The Stress
This is the tough one. Life can be full of stress. Women who go through tough life experiences are up to 12 times more likely to have a heart attack. Look at stress reducing activities like yoga, tai chi, and even meditation and prayer.

Bri From New Mexico Writes:

This has been a tough year so far. I have recently lost my job and I have three children to take care of. We have gone through some tough financial times. I have been extremely tired, have severe joint pain, and I can’t sleep. I also don’t have the excitement for life that I always had. My doctor says this is depression. Is it?

 

Dear Bri,

Life can be tough. I think when we live long enough, and then we sometimes begin to see that. My opinion is that there is always hope, and always a better day coming. It does sound like a lot of the symptoms of depression. A recent study showed that 69 percent of people who were diagnosed with depression came into see the doctor primarily for joint pain. The challenging part is that these aches and pains can actually become compromising to our health if they are not treated quickly and effectively. Here are some common signs that are seen with depression and what you can do about it.

1.Generalized Joint Pain
Typically people with depressive symptoms will start our with some form of joint pain. Fibromyalgia has come on strong as a popular diagnosis. Many people will have the mood dips that go along with it.

What to do?
The great news is that eating a low inflammatory diet has shown to help reduce the inflammation throughout the body. Also certain nutrients like vitamin D and fish oil have been shown to help support brain health and reduce joint inflammation. There is a great product called Amino Activ that can help support reducing the inflammation naturally. You can find it here.

2.Headaches
Many people that struggle with depression will present with migraines. As a matter of fact, 40 percent of people with migraines have depression. 

It may be good to see what side the migraine tends to show up on. Some theories in alternative medicine say it could be linked to a zinc or iron deficiency. 

3.Back Pain
Anxiety and depression have been show n to be linked to neck and back pain. The thought is that it could be due to the consistent poor posture and slouching that goes along with depressed mood and any underlying stress. 

A great support is to visit a chiropractic physician and be evaluated to make sure there are no underlying conditions beyond the depression. 

4.Chest Pain
Many studies are linking depression to chest pain. People who have heart failure and are depressed have four more times the chance of dying than those who are not depressed. There are theories that certain imbalances may lead to abnormal heart rhythms. These can lead these to elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and even insulin.

A great support for this is exercise. Many people don’t exercise and it increases the stress on the heart. Regular exercise can help support your cardiovascular system and help regulate the undue stress on the heart. Make a new goal to start walking 5-6 days a week briskly for just 10-15 minutes. Create the habit first, and then increase the time. 

5.Disrupted Digestion
Many times people notice a major affect on their digestion with stress, especially with depression. The gut has been called the “second brain” by many neuroscientists. . The nervous system has an estimated 500 million neurons. The nerve cells in our gut manufacture about 80-90 percent of our Serotonin, the number one brain chemical to make us not feel depressed!

Great research shows that avoiding most grains for gluten sensitivity, utilizing probiotics for gut health, and increasing omega-3 fats such as fish oil can help increase a great support for better digestion and increased mood. You can find a great formula here

Dean From Florida Writes:

Recently I have seen many changes in my hair. It has started turning gray, receding, and becoming very brittle. I have noticed that my energy has been lower and I’ve gained some extra weight. What do you think could be the issue?

Dear Dean,

Our hair actually can tell us quite a bit about what is going on with our health. Many times we are nutritionally deficient in key areas that may cause a variety of health issues. Here are some key factors to look for when you see changes in your hair.

1.Your Hair Becomes Dry and Thin
If you see these types of hair changes you might be looking at a potential thyroid condition called hypothyroidism. Look for symptoms such as excessive fatigue, cold intolerance, and joint pain. Blood testing will also help determine if there are any issues. 

2.Hair Breaks Easily
If the hair becomes brittle and tends to break, have your physician do some testing for some adrenal issues. Cushing’s Syndrome could be the issue at hand especially if you see high blood pressure and back pain with it.

3.Your Shedding Like A Dog
We all shed hair daily as part of the natural process. However, if you see there are clumps in the shower, it might mean that you have low iron stores. There are some tests your doctor can do to check and see if you have low iron which is called anemia. See if they will do a TIBC test and ferritin to check all areas. Sometimes B12 or key minerals could be the culprits as well.

4.Turning Gray 
Welcome to life. Stress can turn the healthiest hair gray due to the oxidation and breakdown due to tough life factors. Just watch a political campaign and an elected official through the years. Much research now says that it could b e the genes. Low zinc levels are shown to potentially allow for early graying.

5.Dandruff and Flaking 
Known as inflammation of the skin, many theories lean toward nutritional areas to help. The shampoos and lotions may provide relief as well. This could be due to an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency as well as not enough probiotics in the gut. 

Candice in New York Writes:

I am 42 and am seeing my energy levels take a real drop. I have 3 kids and usually am running around like the energizer bunny. My doctor has run all the tests and said that I am checking out to be ok. What could this be?

Dear Candice,

Low energy has become a resounding issue for so many people today. You are definitely not alone. Low energy can be attributed to conditions like anemia, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and even cancer. However in this case, you may want to look at the most common reasons, which are usually dietary in nature. The top reasons we see for a decline in energy has to do with several choices that we make each day. Lets look at some of the basics and see what we can do to make better lifestyle choices.

1.Not Enough Exercise
Exercise is known to give us a great short-term boost in energy. We also see a great improvement in sleep, which gives us better energy for the next day. If you don’t exercise, then make a goal to start walking briskly for 15 minutes a day.

2.Not Eating Breakfast
Breakfast has been touted as the most important meal of the day. By coming off of about a 7-8 hour fast, the body’s cortisol levels are elevated. These levels are important to normalize for better energy and body composition. If you don’t like eating breakfast start with an organic shake as shown here.

3.Get Up And Walk!
You are sitting too much. Activity yields more energy. When we sit, our body’s circulation decreases and reduces blood flow. If you work at a job that has you sitting much of the day, then attempt to stand for 5 minutes every hour. Even consider a standing workstation.

4.Eating Too Much Sugar
Sugar is in everything today. When we eat foods that raise our blood sugar such as breads, pasta, cereals, crackers, chips, sweets, and sugary drinks, our bodies get exhausted. Make a goal to get more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins to stabilize energy levels and ward off the fatigue. 

5.You Are Dehydrated
Our bodies are made of 70-75% water. If we don’t drink enough each day we can become dehydrated. Our cells need clean, pure water to function at their best level. Consider cutting out the sugary drinks and sodas and opt for water. A great goal to is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. So a 200 lb person would drink about 100 ounces a day. 

6.You’re Not Eating The Right Snacks
Small snacks in between meals have been shown to help support healthy blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is stable, we have better energy. Research notes that eating practices such as having 3 meals a day with a couple of snacks in between can yield great results. A great snack is a handful of raw nuts and an apple. This provides stability to blood sugar and power-packed nutrition.

7.Too Much Caffeine
Our adrenal glands are our stress glands. When we overdo it on the caffeine, they can become over taxed. A great idea may be to switch from coffee to herbal teas.

Michael From Florida Writes:

Gout has been a challenge for me over the last few years. My doctor frequently gives me medications that help temporarily. I feel like I can’t eat what I want, or I will immediately have a flare up. Am I stuck eating boring foods just to avoid the gout pain? What can I do?

Dear Michael,

Gout is known to be one of the most painful conditions that someone can have. The medications do work well to settle things down but many times we have to look at the root cause of gout and what could be causing it to consistently return. Gout is a form of arthritis that forms uric acid crystals in the joints. These crystals become very painful and usually occur in the wrist, ankle, big toe, elbow, or knee. There are some great natural ways to support gout. The first is making sure you are eating a great diet. There is the typical routine of avoiding certain foods to reduce the gout occurrence, however, a great solution is found in getting the body to break down proteins. When we don’t break proteins down well we tend to see excess uric acid crystals form. Getting the digestive system in proper working order many times can be a great solution. Her are some healthy tips:

1.Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Following an anti-inflammatory diet will help support healthy digestion. Eating on the principles of equal amounts of lean proteins, low glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats will make the difference. Learn How To Develop A Plan

2. Apple Cider Vinegar
An old grandma remedy. The vinegar helps to stimulate hydrochloric acid in the stomach that can help break down the proteins.

3.Probiotics
Help to support the healthy bacteria in the gut. When the proper gut flora is balanced, then our digestive system is in peak working order and can reduce the chance of building the excess uric acid. One of my favorite brands is www.Theralac.com

4.Pineapple
Eating pineapple can help support your digestion by adding a powerful essential called bromelain. This is main ingredient used in many supplements to help support the break down of proteins. Adding some pineapple to your meals may increase digestion.

5.Don’t Drink With Meals
Skip the fluid with meals. After the age of 35 we begin losing our hydrochloric acid in our stomach. It declines. When we drink a lot of fluid with meals it disrupts our digestive juices and causes us to not digest as well. 

These are some basic principles. You don’t have to be perfect with your eating, but be consistent about 80-90% 

Christopher From Texas Writes:

I am 52 and am struggling with low energy levels, being with my wife intimately, and I am experiencing mood swings. My doctor says I have Low T and wants me to take some hormone replacement. Are there any other options?

Dear Christopher,

Currently 5 million men in America over the age of 40 are experiencing symptoms similar to Menopause called Andropause. We call it Low T. Our hormone levels are ever changing as men and we see a significant decline after the age of 40. As a matter of fact, by the time we are 80, our testosterone is one fifth of what it was in our twenties! So you are dealing with a condition that is typically normal for me. However, we are seeing a greater decline with men now due to higher stress levels, sedentary lifestyles, environmental toxins, and poor dietary choices. The good news is that there are natural ways to bring your levels back to a normal range, despite of your age.  The essential key for raising testosterone is found in our daily lifestyle choices. If we will modify our daily choices, we can increase our effectiveness in optimizing testosterone and our other supportive hormones. Here are some of the top keys to keep our hormone in balance.

1.Eat More Fat
Our body makes testosterone from cholesterol, which comes from eating healthy fats. Make a goal to eat your bodyweight x .55 each day in healthy grams of fat to optimize your testosterone levels from your diet. ( ex. 185 lb male needs 102g fat per day.)

2.Do Resistance Exercise
I prefer weight training. Science has proven that just three 30-minute sessions of weight training per week can raise healthy testosterone levels. Either do a bodyweight training session or get in the gym and go for it. Make sure to use a trainer to learn proper form for safety and maximum results.

3.Get More Sleep
A recent study stated that men who got 5 hours or less sleep had a 15% drop in testosterone levels. Make a goal to sleep between 7-9 hours per night.

4.Consider Zinc
Zinc is the power mineral for testosterone. We burn through our zinc levels with our daily stressors in life. You can get plenty of zinc in meats, nuts, seeds, and fish. Make a goal to increase these foods or consider a supplement.

5.Reduce The Stress
When we are highly stressed it lowers a powerful neurochemical called Dopamine. When Dopamine is lowered, testosterone is lowered. Make a goal to get the stress managed in your life. Spend time in prayer, meditation, or whatever you choose. Look into yoga for renewed health benefits and relaxation.

6. Consider Herbal Supplements
Metabolic Edge and Metabolism Balance are powerful supplements that can help raise your testosterone levels naturally.

Irene From South Dakota Writes:

My son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I hear so much about this condition with my friends and their kids. I really don’t want him taking any medications. What else can be done to help him? 

Dear Irene,

Many experts aren’t completely certain why attention deficit hyperactivity disorder happens to more than 5 percent of school age children.  The most common symptoms that are noticed are forgetfulness, inattentiveness, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Children can respond well to many of the standard medications for ADHD, yet they do come with some unwanted side effects.  Some of the side effects are muscle spasms and appetite changes. Why does this happen in the first place? Many theories land on the idea that different neurotransmitter may be deficient in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. When these brain chemicals are low, then the focus level can be decreased in the frontal lobe of the brain. 

So what do we do? 

It is important to understand that our entire body’s chemistry is created by the foods that we consume each day. The foods we eat determine the kind of cells that we have and ultimately the level of health within our body. Obviously there are some genetic factors as well as environmental challenges that we face, but our choices each day make the majority of the difference.

There are many natural ways to support healthy brain chemistry and help with brain challenges such as ADHD. Here is what some of the top experts around the country have noted regarding ways to help the body when struggling with ADHD. This goes for kids as well as adults.

1.Increase Omega-3 Fats
My favorite is cod liver oil because it contains highly absorbable omega-3 fats, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Studies were completed at the University of Maryland that showed that kids with behavioral challenges were heavily deficient in omega-3 fats. Some great sources are chia, walnuts, hemp, salmon, mackerel, and many vegetables such as squash. 

2.Avoid Processed Foods
Excessive sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors such as red 40, blue 1, and yellow 5 are linked to increased activity in children. Use maple syrup, honey, and stevia as alternatives. Focus their meals on whole foods, proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid much of the flour-based foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers. Of course, every now and then is ok, it’s the day-to-day that matters.

3.Avoid Gluten
Gluten has been found in some studies to possibly trigger behavioral issues in children. It is a protein that is found in most grains that acts like a gluey substance in the gut. When the gut becomes inflamed, the brain has the potential to follow. Choose non-GMO corn, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, and even coconut flour. 

4.Increase The B-Vitamins
B6 (pyridoxyl-5-phosphate) is the connecting powerhouse of our brain chemistry. This along with B12 help to increase certain neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. A deficiency in these brain chemicals can reduce memory, focus, and attention. Choose a supplement or certain foods such as chicken, eggs, red peppers, spinach, and sweet potatoes to keep the levels up.

5.Major in Magnesium
Many studies have shown that magnesium can help with calming the nervous system. Using a supplement is a great idea. Talk with your pediatrician about dosages. Another great way to get the magnesium is in our foods. Great sources are nuts, seeds, and most vegetables. 

Ken From Michigan Writes:

What can you do for headaches? I have been dealing with headaches off and on for about twenty years. I use medications sometimes and they seem to help. What could be causing these headaches to reoccur and what can I do to correct this?

Dear Ken,

Headaches strike many people today. They can come from a variety of causes from food allergies, to vascular conditions, structural challenges, nutritional deficiencies, and even just plain old stress. Standard treatment involves a variety of different medications to help support these different areas and even just mask the pain. But what if the root cause of the headaches came from mostly environmental triggers? Many experts agree that the majority of headaches have a chemical component to them. Food allergies and nutritional sensitivities have become well known to affect headaches. Just take some basic headaches that we see often such as a caffeine withdrawal headache? It was the removal of the caffeine that caused the body to respond with a headache. Many eat inorganic and processed foods every day and live in a toxic environment that places us in a position to be around toxins that can cause a disruption to the body. If we avoid some of the basic triggers, then many times the headaches can be minimized or even diminished. Here are some basic triggers that we see with headaches and some alternatives.

1.Smoked meats
Foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, and nitrites make dilate blood vessels that can cause headaches many times. Look for foods that are free of these preservatives.

2.Red Wine And Processed Cheese
Cheese contains a substance called Tyramine. This causes headaches due to the constricting of the blood vessels. The red wine is concerning because it can disrupt the neurotransmitter serotonin.

3.Dehydration
This is a large reason we see for headaches. Many people drink soda, coffee, and tea all day and can become easily dehydrated. Focus on getting more water in up to half your bodyweight in ounces each day.

4.Brain Freeze
Ever eat the ice cream or shake and get the brain freeze? Although not a danger, this type of headache is caused by temperature sensitive nerves. 

5.Gluten
Many gluten sensitive people will notice a slight headache when eating certain flour-based foods. Opt to clear grains out of the diet for seven to eight weeks and then slowly add gluten-free grains back in.

6.Nutritional Deficiencies
Some people experience headaches due to a lack of proper nutrition. If you ever see someone that deals with headaches over a particular side of their head you may want to have your doctor look for certain deficient in some lab work. If there is a headache over the right eye, it may be a lack of iron. If it is a headache over the left eye or side, it may be a zinc deficiency.

7.Caffeine Withdrawal
Many times this is correlated with not drinking coffee. If you are coming off high amounts of caffeine, consider tea as an alternative. It has about a third of the amount of caffeine and help take the edge off of these types of headaches.

Mickie From Florida Writes:

I have been doing my best to take care of my skin. I am 41 and now starting to see some signs of aging. What can I do to keep my skin healthier and reduce many of the wrinkles that I am seeing?

Dear Mickie,

Most dermatologists agree that our skin health begins at an early age. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you think you haven’t taken care of your skin. Much of the damage may have already occurred, however, what you do each and every day from now on is what counts. Although we do have to be concerned about what we do to protect our skin on the outside, we also must focus on keeping the skin healthy on the inside. The main focus to keep your skin looking younger is on balancing the outer protection and the internal nutritional environment. Some of the top keys noted by the research to keep your skin looking vibrant are:

1. Wear Sunscreen
This may be the obvious. Wearing sunscreen of 30 SPF every day is important to keep your skin looking healthier and younger. We may not be able to change the past, but we can make better choices today. Look for all-natural and organic versions.

2. Incorporate Astaxanthin
This is a super antioxidant. Recent studies have shown that astaxanthin at around 8 mg may have protective benefits for the skin. Especially for fair-skinned people the protection against the harmful UV-B rays are increased. Check your local health food store.

3. Think Vitamin A
Vitamin A has been used as a skin rejuvenator for years. Think about the flagship skin cream Retina-A. Skin is healthy from the inside out. Vitamin A is found in many of the orange-red vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and red peppers. You can use the cream from your dermatologist to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Consider A Mask
The masks that you see people use are very effective. Natural masks that contain cucumber and raw honey are excellent for exfoliation and rejuvenation of the skin.

5. Vitamin C
It is ultimate rebuilder of collagen. Not only is Vitamin C great at building the immune system, it is also great at building the skin integrity and overall tone. 

6. Fish Oil
My favorite is cod liver oil. The reason is that in addition to the essential omega 3 fatty acids, it is loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin D. The skin is the largest organ that we have and the essential fatty acids are vital to the radiant glow that we are looking for.

7. Vitamin D
Here is the controversy. You get Vitamin D from being in the sun, but we need to protect our skin, right? Yes and yes. It is healthy to be in the sun for about 30 minutes a day. That will help you get your needed vitamin D for the day. Otherwise, you should protect your skin as directed. Foods contain Vitamin D that keeps our skin healthy such as nuts, seeds, fish, and mushrooms. Consider getting a blood test done every 6 months to check your Vitamin D levels.

Kay From North Carolina Writes:

I recently had some testing done and my doctor says that I have a major blockage in one of my arteries that he is concerned about. He said eat a “heart-healthy” diet. What does that mean? Are there certain foods and choices that I can make that will help this condition?

Dear Kay,

Great to hear from you! I know it can be quite confusing when it comes to what to eat for your heart. Really, what you eat for an overall healthy body will provide the nutrition that you need for a healthy heart. Let’s start with the basics. The first step is to understand that eating foods in their whole food state is the best way to go. The more a food is processed, the less healthy it is for you. That’s why potatoes are better than potato chips! So with that basic understanding we need to look at some top foods that are very healthy for you, and will support a healthy heart as well.

1. Salmon 
One of my favorites.  Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fats and will help lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol.

2. Walnuts
The super nut.  Just a handful of nuts each day have been show to support a healthy heart. Walnuts contain the highest amount of omega -3 fats. They also cut down the inflammation within the coronary arteries.

3. Beans
Loaded with fiber beans are known to support heart health and help lower blood pressure.

4. Brown Rice
Plenty of fiber and nutrients to support a healthy heart.

5. Kale
One of natures wonders. Kale has the B vitamins including folate, essential fatty acids, and fiber that make it a cardiovascular wonder.

6. Blueberries
Packed full of key polyphenols and antioxidants that help reduce potential harm to the heart such as free radicals.

7. Dark Grapes
A powerful fruit that contains resveratrol. This key nutrient is supportive to heart health and lowering of cholesterol.

Justin from Colorado Writes:

Weight gain has been my hurdle for the last year. For some reason I seem to gain weight even though I am living a healthy lifestyle. My energy levels have dropped, I don’t sleep that well, and I have developed the spare tire that everyone keeps talking about. I am only 36, what do you think could be the issue? 

Dear Justin,

Your dilemma is one that is leading the way in America today. Our metabolism has been disrupted due to a challenging environment, sedentary choices, and a diminishing quality food supply. Even though you seem to be making healthy choices, those choices could be leading you down the wrong path for your health and lifestyle goals. When it comes to having a metabolism that will keep your hormones working effectively and maintaining a healthy weight, there are some basics that you must understand and apply. The first step is to follow the basic rules for keeping the metabolism working in its most efficient manner possible.

1.Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast
We have always heard to never skip breakfast. It’s true. A protein –rich breakfast will keep the metabolism accelerated and help the body have the fuel it needs to support our hormones for the day.

2.Exercise Early
It is always great to have a good exercise routine. Work out consistently 5-6 days a week for at least 10-15 minutes a day. If you start early, some studies suggest that it can push the metabolism to be stimulated in a greater way throughout the day.

3.Avoid Plastics
There is a hormone disruptor called BPA (bisphenol-A). This is in most of the plastic bottles and containers that we use on a daily basis. Many studies have shown that this will affect our hormones and metabolism in a negative way.

4.Get Your Labs Done 
There is power in the blood. Have your doctor check your lab work every 6 months to make sure all of your numbers are where they should be. For example, a thyroid that is not working properly is enough to cause the metabolism to come to a grinding halt.

5.Drink More Water
Hydration is key for a healthy metabolism. The goal is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. You can factor in your herbal teas as well.

6.Sleep More
Sleep is our own natural pharmacy. When we sleep well, everything in our body resets. Our hormones, cells, and systems renew for the next day. When we lose sleep, we lose the ability to have a great metabolism, healthy hormones, and proper energy levels. Make a goal for 7-9 hours per day. Also, for the optimal circadian rhythm, get in bed before 11am

Sylvia from California Writes:

I have been dealing with chronic arthritis and fibromyalgia for years. Is there anything that I can add to my current lifestyle that will help? I hear there are many natural ways to help. What can I do? 

Dear Sylvia,

Chronic aches and pains are a real challenge and can be debilitating for anyone. Just be encouraged that there are great natural solutions to be able to fight these conditions. First, chronic pain affects about 1 in 5 people in the US each year. This is a large statistic that makes it challenging for people complete daily activities and even enjoy social and family time. Physicians still don’t completely understand chronic pain and the constant cycle that goes with it. Therefore the standard pain medications work for some, but others are looking for natural methods to help support their current situation. I have compiled some of the top natural ways to help stop the pain naturally. They are fairly basic and simple. Remember that our lifestyle plays a large role in where our health will ultimately end up. We have to take responsibility for our choices each and every day. Here are the top tips:

1. Cod Liver Oil
This is the superstar. In one study patients with neck and back pain took 1200mg of fish oil for about 2 months. More than half the patients came off of their pain medications during the study!

2. Amino Activ (AminoActiv.com)
I have never seen such a powerful natural pain reducer and anti-inflammatory. This is University tested and found to be great for those with chronic pain and even acute injuries as with athletes. The reason I am a fan is because it utilizes homeopathic ingredients, real amino acids (proteins), and certain key enzymes that help break the inflammatory cycle. 

3.Reservatrol
This is found in grapes, berries, and red wine. Recent studies have found that it has strong brain protective effects, anti-cancer benefits, as well as breaking the pain cycle. 

4. Cryotherapy
Known as cold therapy. Many have used this for centuries as helping manage pain. Now there are even cryotherapy spa’s popping up around the country.

5. Exercise
People who are in excellent aerobic condition have less pain many studies have shown. When we exercise, we produce our own natural painkillers such as endorphins. If you are in pain, many physicians will suggest starting slowly and building up. “No pain, no gain” as Arnold used to say.

6. Tumeric
A recent study had patients using about 1300mg of turmeric a day and had noticeable pain relief. Using turmeric is a great way to spice up your cooking. The famous curry has been an Indian Cuisine staple for centuries.

Strokes are growing by leaps and bounds in our country today. It is becoming one of the leading causes of death in adults over the age of 65. We must do something. The great news is that so much of our lifestyle is a supporting factor to increasing our overall health. Here are some of the top tips for stroke prevention in the latest research.

1.Hold The Salt
High blood pressure is one of the top reasons for a stroke. Excessively high sodium levels are one of the reasons for the increase in blood pressure. Aim for now more than 2400mg of sodium per day and 1500mg if you had any heart issues.

2.Control Blood Pressure
One of the leading ways is with exercise. The research says 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Walking is a great start.

3.Stop Smoking
Easier said than done. However look at some new techniques such as acupuncture. This will help support healthy arteries support healthier cells.

4.Know Your Numbers
Blood work is essential for knowing where your body is. For stroke prevention, its best to know your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is good for us but not in excessive amounts. Stay within the normal guidelines. A diet high in fiber will help at around 30 grams per day.

5.Avoid Blood Sugar Issues
Keep any blood sugar issues in check.  Diabetes can damage the arteries in the hread and neck. Making sure your levels are normalized will ensure the body does not break down in those areas.

6.Exercise More
Not being as sedentary will help drop the risk of stroke. Numerous studies agree that exercise supports healthier blood vessels and overall cardiovascular function. Make a goal for 5 days a week and 20-30 minutes.

7.Be Checked For Atrial Fibrulation
If this is a concern, be checked by your pohysisican. The abnormal filling of the upper chambers of the heart can be a leading cause for stroke. This can be managed with diet and certain medications if needed.

Veronica From Michigan Writes:

I am 57 and wanting to start my New Year in the best possible way. What foods should I be eating and avoiding? 

Dear Veronica,

Food is our foundation. The foods we put into our body becomes our body in so many ways. Our cells each day are determined by the foods that we eat. There is a lot of confusion regarding which foods are good and bad. Our Metabolic Diet has a list of healthy foods that you can eat each day. You want to choose foods that reduce inflammation and are not processed. A good rule of thumb is to eat foods in balance. Start with Equal amounts of lean proteins like chicken, fish, beef, and eggs. Then some low-glycemic carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables. And then the healthy fats such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews. This will help create balance in your routine. There are many foods that we think are healthy, but are really not. These are food that will wreck your metabolism and cause you to go in the opposite direction for fat-loss and weight management. Let’s take a look at some of the top so-called “healthy foods” to avoid for optimal health.

1. Fruit Juice
Fruit contains the sugar fructose. This is an interesting sugar as it can turn into fat storage if consumed too often throughout the day. Typically about 2-3 pieces of fruit is a good amount per day. The fruit juice raises the glycemic index and can be taxing to the pancreas and create fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Opt for a piece of fruit .

2. Granola Bars
Typically whole grain but loaded with sugar. 

Opt for a handful of nuts.

3. Yogurt With Fruit On Bottom
This is mostly sugar. The benefits of the naturally occurring probiotics are outweighed by the extra sugar content.
Opt for plain organic yogurt and add some fresh berries.

4. Low-Fat Foods
Think of dressings, peanut butter, etc. When fat is reduced it is replaced with added corn syrup and sugars.
Opt for the full fat options instead. Fat doesn’t make us fat if it’s the right kind of monounsaturated oils. 

5. Pre-Made Smoothies
Most smoothies and shakes are loaded with extra sugar. Create your own for better nutrition and cutting down the sugar. See our shake recipes each week in our newsletter for great ideas.

Connie From Arizona Writes:

I am 51 and weigh about 200lbs. I am ready to make a lifestyle change. I am taking two medications for blood pressure and one for diabetes. My doctor says to eat better and start exercising, but I don’t know where to begin. What do you suggest?

Dear Connie,

First of all, Happy New Year! This is going to be a great year. It is exciting to see you have the desire to want to make a transition. The good news is that no matter where you are in your health journey, barely surviving, or thriving, there is always hope to become better. When your body has come to the place that it needs medications to function, certain systems have broken down. The next series of steps have to be strategic. Remember, it’s about lifestyle. If we can lifestyle our way into a health challenge, then we can lifestyle our way out! To reach your new health goals you must first learn some of the basics. These are the 7 Lifestyle Keys that are essential in achieving your health goals. Follow these steps and you will see new attainable results in the months to come. Our health is determined by our choices that we make each day. 

  • Key 1 - Committed Attitude: Decide You Want To Live Well Living a healthy lifestyle is 10% percent of knowing what to do and 90% behavior. Making a resolution to overcome whatever health challenges you are currently facing, create a new direction, develop new habits, and beginning to thrive in your overall health begins with a decision to want to live well
  • Key 2 - Eat to Live: Eat Balanced Whole Foods Eat foods in the way they were originally designed to increase energy, overall, vitality, and create essential ways of living. We are what we eat, just like our Granny taught us. What we put into our body becomes our body! Avoiding the pitfalls of processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, will yield a better return in your overall health. Make a goal to eat well 90% of the time and 10% have fun and enjoy what you like. That means 2-3 meals a week enjoy some of your old favorites! This is about establishing new habits.
  • Key 3 - Get Moving! : 10-20 Minutes A Day 6 Days A Week Doing Something You Enjoy Our bodies were designed to move. Sitting more than six hours per day will decrease our lifespan considerably! Pick an activity that you enjoy such as walking, jogging, biking, weightlifting, skiing, racquetball, or any other sporting activity. Once you begin this new activity and stay consistent, you will see the proven results of focused exercise. Get a personal trainer to help you if you don’t know where to start. And the answer is No, gardening does not count! You can live better, let’s get moving!
  • Key 4 - Know Your Body: Have Lab Testing Done With Your Doctor Everyone should have a trusted primary care physician as a head coach. There is power in the blood. Nutritional deficiencies can develop over time which may cause a breakdown in how our body functions. Eighty percent of the body breaks down before we ever experience our first symptom! Blood testing and genetic-based testing are some of the most vital tools that your physician and/or dietitian will use to assess your overall health. Our body’s blood cells die off and regenerate every 90-120 days. Learning how your body is changing will be a vital step in you understanding which direction to go nutritionally and medically. Stay ahead of the game.
  • Key 5 - Hydrate: Drink Half Your Body-weight In Ounces Of Pure Water Daily Our bodies are made of 75% water! Drinking filtered, spring, or distilled water daily in about half your body-weight in ounces will yield amazing results in your energy, vitality, and overall health. (ex. 200 lb person = 100 oz. water daily) Recent studies have shown that by increasing our intake of water, we will increase fat loss and overall metabolic rate as well. So drink up!
  • Key 6 - Manage Stress: Now that you have the basics down for an optimal lifestyle, its time to manage your life instead of it managing you! Stress will never stop because life doesn’t stop. Rest is a vital role in our energy levels and overall wellness. Every minute of sleep we get before midnight is worth 4 minutes after. Make a goal to be in bed early to increase the body’s recovery ability and regenerative process. Also, take 1 day off a week and unplug with those you love.
  • Key 7 - Live Well And Inspire Others!: It’s time to be a change agent. Now that you have restructured your new lifestyle and attained new health, you can inspire others to do the same! Leave a health legacy for future generations to live in abundance with optimal health, wellness, and lifestyle.