Our bodies become toxic for many reasons. Conventionally grown produce (pesticides), packaged and processed foods (preservatives), cosmetics, personal hygiene and household cleaning products (industrial chemicals) are good examples of our daily exposure to a whole host of toxins. We eat, drink, breathe in and absorb toxins through our skin all the time – in our modern society, it is virtually impossible to avoid environmental toxins.
Exposure to environmental toxins has been linked to an overproduction of unchecked free radicals which, in turn, is implicated in premature ageing, weight gain and obesity, and various degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
Research indicates that one of the best defenses against free radical damage are antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that are found in various plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Certain foods (such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) are rich in phytochemicals that are thought to be especially beneficial to fighting free radicals.
In recent years, the idea of “cleansing” or “detoxing” has been been popularized by commercially created formulas, diets or programs – mostly in connection with weight loss. Many people have the idea that they need to periodically cleanse or detox and resort to extreme measures that can be dangerous.
Although an “intensive” periodic detox, like Panchakarma which is done under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic practioner, can be very beneficial, it is important to realize that exposure to toxins and consequent overproduction of free radicals is an ongoing, daily event. Therefore, an effort to detox or cleanse should be a continual effort.
There are many natural ways in which to natural cleanse your body on a daily basis, as this infographic illustrates and explains:
- Refrain from smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and decaffeinated beverages and eating too much sugar.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Drink plenty of clean water throughout the day and warm lemon water first thing in the morning. To determine how much water you need to drink, see this water chart.
- Manage stress levels through meditation, journaling or discussing your problems with a friend, family member or within a trusted support group.
- Eat foods rich in dietary fiber like kale, broccoli, almonds, beans and legumes, berries, apples, chiaand flaxseed.
- Avoid acid-forming foods like dairy, beef, pork, shellfish, peanuts, sodas and white or wine vinegar.
- Take extra care of your liver by regularly consuming certain herbs, spices and foods like milk thistle, ginger, garlic, lemon, chorella, turmeric and dandelion root.
In his book, Complete Colon Cleanse: The At-Home Detox Program to Restore Good Health, Boost Vitality, and Ensure Longevity, Dr. Edward F. Group III writes that our modern world is swarming with toxins. These toxins infiltrate and poison the body and accumulate in the colon. The result is weight gain, fatigue and various other medical conditions and health issues. Dr. Group maintains that cleansing the colon improves all aspect of one’s general health and specifically helps to:
✔ Lose Weight
✔ Lower Blood Sugar
✔ Increase Energy
✔ Improve Awareness
✔ Reduce Inflammation
✔ Alleviate Irritable Bowels
✔ Stop Headaches and Allergies
✔ Appear More Youthful
Today, there are many colon cleanse and detox products and services on the market. These include supplements, colonic hydrotherapy (colon irrigation) and various other treatments and therapies.
But, one the best natural ways to cleanse and maintain a healthy colon is to reduce the the toxin load by eating organic produce that is high in fiber and to regularly consume certain foods and herbs.
This infographic illustrates some of the best foods and herbs that are thought to be very effective in cleansing the colon and keeping it healthy and include:
✿ Alfalfa Sprouts
✿ Aloe Vera
✿ Fermented Foods (Kefir)
✿ Fennel Seeds
✿ Flax Seeds
✿ Organic Fruits (Apples, Grapes, Pineapples, Papayas and Kiwis)
✿ Probiotic Yogurt
✿ Pumkin Seeds
✿ Tea Tree Oil
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is the result of two studies developed by the US National Institutes of Health. It focuses on the lowering one’s cholesterol and blood pressure without the use of medication by lowering the amount of sodium that one takes in. High consumption of sodium has been known to cause hypertension or high blood pressure, which is a major contributing factor in strokes, aneurysms and other heart diseases. This diet has also been proved to prevent the occurrence of kidney stones, some types of cancer and diabetes.
The diet primarily revolves around food that is low in salt, cholesterol and saturated fat. It accentuates the consumption of fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet has also proved to lower bad cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart diseases. While whole grains, poultry, and seafood are still to be consumed, red meat and sugars are to be limited.
Image source: http://www.drkessinger.com/Newsletters/DASH.jpg
DASH is a balanced diet that requires no special types of food or medication. The pyramid above shows the ideal distribution of food in this diet; however it is very flexible and can be adjusted to each individual’s needs.
Here are some websites which offer recipes while on the DASH diet:
It is best to follow a DASH eating or meal plan while at the same time, consciously keep one’s sodium intake below 2300 mg. The DASH diet is meant to be a permanent lifestyle change and not a quick weight loss fix.
As we grow older, the risk of suffering from hypertension grows higher. This diet could be the first step in early prevention or a way for one to maintain a good blood pressure. At first it may be difficult to apply the necessary changes but slowly transitioning into the diet (yes even just one step at a time!) could bring you closer to a healthier lifestyle.
For more information visit: http://dashdiet.org/
So what do you think? Is DASH the diet for you?
Contributor/Writer: Kristianne Untal
The Nutritarian Way
The Nutritarian Diet is governed by what is known as The Health Equation which was produce by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He developed the calculation which states that:
This type of diet doesn’t just focus on the consumption of healthy provisions such fruits, vegetables and organic fare or abstaining from unhealthy food like those that are high in fat and sodium or processed equivalents. Instead it puts emphasis on maximizing the amount of micronutrients per calorie.
When one eats high amounts of low-nutrient food, certain chemicals in the body are triggered and they are responsible for the development of chronic diseases. They are also the cause of withdrawal symptoms that prompts one to overeat, which eventually causes him to develop food addiction. However, this chain of events is stopped by eating nutrient-rich food.
The amount of each person’s micronutrient consumption is adjusted to the needs of the individual. Being aware of the quantity of micronutrients per calorie density is important in meal planning to maximize weight loss and effectively prevent diseases.
One’s Nutritarian diet is suggested to be made up mostly of food with the highest concentration of nutrients. The pyramid below gives a better idea of how much of each food type should be consumed. The base consists of low calorie and nutrient-rich food while the top consists of high-calorie and nutrient-sparse substances.
Image source: https://www.drfuhrman.com/
Still wondering what a Nutritarian diet looks like? Here are six guidelines of the diet that will give you a better idea of what it’s like to be a Nutritarian.
- Eat a large salad every day as your main dish.
- Consume at least half a cup of beans every day.
- Have one large serving of steamed green vegetables a day.
- Females should eat at least 1 ounce of nuts and seeds a day and males at least 1.5 ounces.
- Mushrooms and onions should be eaten every day.
- Eat three fresh fruits a day.
Opting to become a Nutritarian will definitely require patience and enough discipline to give up some of your favorite meals, but in return it also offers a wide range of benefits. Maybe you’re still deciding whether this is the diet for you or perhaps you think you’re ready for the Nutritarian shift, whatever the case; weigh the pro and cons and give the diet a good amount of thought before embarking on it.
Choosing the Nutritarian diet has been said to be the end of dieting, do you think this will be the case for you?
Dr. Fuhrman’s website offers recipes and more information regarding this diet. You may visit it at https://www.drfuhrman.com/
Contributor/Writer: Kristianne Untal
There are so many different diets out there and I bet you’ve tried at least one. They come in various shapes and sizes, with different goals and restrictions. Listed below are some diets that may or may not have been picked up by your radars.
1. Nutritarian Diet
The Nutritarian Diet was created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and is governed by what is known as The Health Equation, and puts emphasis on maximizing the amount of micronutrients per calorie. A large portion of this diet is made up of low-calorie and nutrient-rich food, such as raw vegetables, which lessens the risk of developing chronic diseases and food addiction. The diet also endorses The Nutritarian food pyramid which serves as a guide for how much of each food type should be consumed. For more information visit: https://www.drfuhrman.com/
2. GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)
The GAPS diet, founded by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, establishes a connection between the digestive system and the brain. The main premise of the diet is that gut is responsible for the physiological and psychological problems that one goes through. The diet aims to heal one’s gut through an intense detoxification process and the consumption of nutrient dense, non-sugary and easy-to-digest food. For more information visit: https://www.gapsdiet.com/
3. Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is inspired by the conventional diet of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean food pyramid is a simple guide for how food should be allocated in the diet. The diet lowers the risk of heart disease and consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables, legume and whole grains. It also endorses the consumption of fish and poultry while restricting the intake of meat and butter. This diet also requires one to
integrate some form of exercise into their lifestyle such as walking or Pilates.
For more information visit: http://www.mediterraneandiet.com/
4. DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
The DASH Diet focuses on lowering one’s blood pressure and cholesterol without the use of medicine. The food consumed in this diet should be high in fiber and low in fat. It puts importance on the consumption of whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, poultry and lean meat. It is a flexible diet which emphasizes maintaining a healthy weight. For more information visit: http://dashdiet.org/
5. TLC Diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
The TLC diet is one that is not meant for weight loss; instead it focuses on maintaining one’s ideal weight and at the same time lowers the risk of heart disease. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are what make up a large portion of this diet. It restricts the amount of saturated fat that one consumes and highlights the importance of knowing what you are eating. For more information visit: http://tlcdiet.org/
6. Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet claims to be a weight loss program for life. It allows one to lose weight and eventually make the diet a lifestyle. As it is governed by the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, one is able to see the balance of eating healthy and exercising. The diet focuses on teaching you how to improve eating habits, make healthier food as well as lifestyle choices. For more information visit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/
7. Ornish Diet
The Ornish Diet uses nutrition, exercise, stress and emotional management guides to achieve various goals. This diet created by Dr. Dean Ornish can be used for weight loss, the prevention of diabetes and heart disease, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. The diet not only categorizes food from healthful to least healthful but also puts emphasis on exercise. There is a wide range of exercises and activities suggested in this diet such as
aerobics and meditation. Ultimately it is up to the individual to create a combination that they will be able to sustain long-term. For more information visit: http://ornishspectrum.com/
8. Flexitarian Diet
The word flexitarian is a portmanteau of flexible and vegetarian created by Dawn Jackson Blanter. The whole premise of the diet is to lessen the amount of meat you consume and add five “new” food groups to the normal diet. There is a wide range of options presented in this diet, and by lessening the consumption of meat it lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. For more information visit: http://dawnjacksonblatner.com/
9. Abs Diet
The Abs diet is a no calorie counting and metabolism boosting program created by David Zinczenko. This diet puts a lot of emphasis on exercise as one needs to undergo ab work outs twice a week, strength training three times a week plus additional cardio. To keep energy levels at a maximum, one consumes six meals a day. This diet revolves around the 12 Abs Diet Powerfoods and each meal must contain at least two items from this list. This diet restrains one from eating saturated and trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and refined carbs and instead suggests the consumption of more protein, calcium, and fiber.
For more information visit: http://www.absdiet.com/
10. Vegan Diet
A Vegan diet is stripped of all animal-products including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy. This diet reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It is mainly composed of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. It is a complete change in lifestyle and requires careful planning in the beginning to ensure that one receives all the essential vitamins and nutrients. For more information visit: http://www.vegweb.com/
Disclaimer: The material above was written for informational purposes only. As with any lifestyle change and/or dietary intervention it is important to do further research and consult with one’s doctor before pursuing said change.
Do you know any other diet that we can add on our list?
Contributor/Writer: Kristianne Untal
A First Look at Wholefood
By Kristianne Untal
The world today revolves around giving us quick and easy access to almost everything. Because of this, industries have worked to provide us with commodities which satisfy the market’s demand. As a result we are now surrounded by processed and manufactured food which may have been stripped of their prime nutritional value. They come in cans, jars and vacuum-packed containers, but surprisingly this doesn’t only pertain to meat, fish and other sources of protein. Nowadays even fruits and vegetables are being processed before they reach our supermarkets.
I think everyone would agree that they would like to have optimal health and despite there being no magic elixir to provide us with this, there are choices we can make to bring us closer to that ideal. Consuming wholefood is one of those options which we can have without sacrificing the quick and easy routine, as this can be consumed with minor or even no cooking involved. But wait, what exactly is wholefood?
Wholefood (n.) food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances; natural or organic food
Wholefood is organically produced and is prepared without chemicals and processed additives. It is usually associated with vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains however it also includes organically grown meat products. Consuming such has demonstrated to be beneficial in many aspects. It contains more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as compared to the processed food found in most grocery stores. They are a good source of phytochemicals which prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases and at the same time serve as antioxidants.
Incorporating wholefood into one’s diet has also proved to reduce the risk and development of arthritis, cancer, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating a high amount of raw fruits and vegetables improves blood pressure and increases one’s metabolism. The body also absorbs the nutrients from these fares faster because there are no preservatives or artificial additives to slow down the natural processes which our body undergoes.
It is important to remember that everything we consume affects our bodies in some way. In both the long and short run, consuming artery clogging, low-fiber, and sugar loaded food will not benefit us at all. Although shifting to wholefood may seem or actually be difficult at the start, even the smallest integration of it into our diets can make a difference in our lives.
“It is in our small actions toward change where we find great strides in improvement.”
In most of the nutrition studies, we have learned that lemons are a good source of citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. However, there is more wonderful benefits that we probably don’t know with this amazing yellow fruit!
The following is a brief summary of a few of the key health benefits of drinking lemon water regularly.
In his book Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss explains some of the medicinal values of a lemon:
- It helps prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the decomposition of tissue
- It assists in “cleansing the system of impurities” and will help prevent disease
- It is effective at dissolving uric acid (often the cause of pain and inflammation in joints) and other poisons in the body
- It can help reduce symptoms of malaria, rheumatism, gout, rickets and tuberculosis.
Kloss also states that lemon is an excellent stimulant to the liver, thus confirming what I had learned as a twenty-something.
Lemon water liquefies the bile and helps control excess bile flow. For liver complaints, Kloss recommends drinking warm lemon juice one hour before breakfast.
A.F. Beddoe, author of Biological Ionization as Applied to Human Nutrition, writes that the liver can make more enzymes out of fresh lemon juice than from any other food.
He says the primary purpose of the lemon is to:
Provide a natural strengthening agent to liver enzymes when they are too dilute
Help fix oxygen and calcium levels in the liver, which ultimately affects blood oxygen levels.
One of the most important benefits of drinking lemon water regularly is its effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Lemon water assists in the process of digestion and elimination.
Lemon juice is similar in atomic structure to saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices.
The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. For the relief of heartburn, Kloss recommends taking a teaspoon of lemon juice in half a glass of water.
Lemon water will also help to eliminate waste through the bowels more efficiently, thus preventing or alleviating constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Properties
Bacteria and viruses that cause cold and flu symptoms thrive in an acidic environment in the body, due to excess stress and unhealthy foods and lifestyle.
Drinking lemon water has an alkalizing effect on the body. Increasing body alkalinity is one of the key benefits of drinking lemon water.
In addition, because of its antibacterial properties, lemon water will help control unhealthy bacteria.
For a sore throat, Kloss recommends gargling frequently with lemon juice, diluted half and half with pure water. Gargling with straight lemon juice would be more effective if tolerable.
However, frequent use of straight lemon juice can ruin tooth enamel.
Thus it’s a good idea to rinse the mouth with pure water after gargling with straight lemon juice.
Other Benefits of Lemon Water
Just a few more significant health benefits of lemon water, according to Kloss and Beddoe, include:
- Helps purify the blood and will also control a tendency to bleed
- Assists in lowering high blood pressure
- Reduces the amount of phlegm in the body
- Relieves symptoms of asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems
- Nourishes brain and nerve cells due to its potassium content
- Helps dissolves gallstones, calcium deposits, kidney stones, and pancreatic stones
- In pregnancy, it will help build strong bones in the child.
Asparagus is a super food. It’s a high alkaline vegetable and a great source of potassium, folate and vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and strong bones. It also contains rutin, which helps to protect your blood vessels and it contains quercetin which is an anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting flavonoid.
Here’s what Duncan Capicchiano, a Naturopath and creator of KidneyCoach.com, says about asparagus. (http://www.kidneycoach.com/453/7-reasons-why-you-should-eat-asparagus-to-halt-your-kidney-disease/)
Asparagus has been used as a medicinal food/herb since before the time of Christ; even its botanical name points to this, Asparagus officinalis. Officinalis is given in acknowledgment to its “official” use as a therapeutic herb. This highly sought after and valued herb is native to both European and Asian cultures; and this is shown in many texts based on botany and herbal medicine findings throughout the regions.
Asparagus is most well known for its specific action on all of the urinary system (kidneys and bladder), the most well known being:
1. Helps support and facilitate kidney function
2. Increases urine production (diuretic)
3. Soothing to the urinary system
4. Anti-edema – especially with excess fluid from around the heart
5. Kidney and bladder cleanser
6. Boosts cellular action in the kidneys
7. Breaks up uric acid – therefore excellent for gout and kidney stones
*Best avoided in conditions where the kidneys are chronically inflamed (e.g. nephritis), and not to be eaten in excess.
Others actions include: Lowers blood pressure (due to diuretic action), bitter (stimulates digestion), laxative (due to fiber), blood purifier, anti-rheumatic (removes uric acid), anti-parasitic, calming, promotes fertility, beneficial for all aspects of the female reproductive system (highly beneficial for men too).
The magic of this humble plant comes down to many naturally occurring chemicals; unlike western medicine that just singles out one chemical:
Bitter principles: officinalisins
Flavonoids (rutin, quercetin, kaempferol)
Including: Vitamin A, B, C, E, folic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, iodine, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, silicon
To read this article online: http://www.kidneycoach.com/453/7-reasons-why-you-should-eat-asparagus-to-halt-your-kidney-disease/
Asparagus can be eaten raw, grilled, or lightly steamed. It can also be juiced for those who want to do some serious kidney cleansing.
Asparagus is on the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Clean 15, meaning conventionally grown asparagus has minimal amounts of pesticide residues.
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D.,C.N.S.