What you put in your mouth can show up on your face and other epidermal areas of your body. Having said that, it’s important to load up on whole foods and water and skip the sugar and refined flours which can attach to collagen and elastin in your skin and accelerate aging. In addition, poor food choices often cause digestive issues which will manifest as skin conditions such as acne, dry skin, rosacea and eczema. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, clean protein, water and essential fatty acids can go a long way towards maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Dark Leafy Greens. Kale, arugula, collard greens, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other members of this family are good sources of minerals which help to carry water to the cells and are involved in many reactions in the body including maintaining collagen levels. They are rich in beta carotene and vitamin E which protect the skin from sun damage. Greens also contain folate which helps maintain and repair DNA and zinc which promotes collagen production.
Berries. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries contain numerous antioxidants which protect the skin cells from sun damage and even cancer. A skin superfood, berries are also rich in vitamin C which is a natural wrinkle fighter, anti-aging compound and skin tightener.
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. These orange wonders are a great source of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that slows skin cancer development and the overproduction of cells which can clog pores and create blemishes. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C which stimulates collagen production in addition to all of those other wonderful things previously mentioned!
Pumpkin Seeds. These tasty winter squash progeny are a good source of zinc and selenium which maintain collagen levels and skin elasticity. Zinc helps create proper protein structures including cell membranes and has been known to reduce acne. Selenium and zinc also protect the skin from UV rays. Along with other nuts and seeds (flax seeds and walnuts are highest omega-3 source), pumpkin seeds contain essential fatty acids which hydrate the skin, quell inflammation and maintain skin cell structure and integrity.
Coconut Oil. High in lauric acid and capric acid which are antimicrobials that boost the immune system, coconut oil is great for skin health whether used topically or internally. It’s rich in vitamin E which is a natural skin moisturizer, anti-inflammatory agent, UV protectant and free radical fighter. Plus coconut oil is a friendly fat that helps the body absorb skin healthy, fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E.
What other foods do you consume to keep your skin looking young and radiant? Or, have you noticed any negative affects from certain foods (i.e. sugar, dairy, vegetable oils)? Please feel free to share your experience below.
Welcome to Cultivating Health! If you haven’t done so already, sign up for Juicy News, my monthly e-newsletter that gives you practical health and nutrition tips that will have a profound impact on your health and happiness if you’re ready for change. Juicy News topics include:
- menu planning
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- hormonal imbalances
- adrenal fatigue & stress
- cravings (especially sugar cravings)
- playful eating
- work-life balance
Of course, there is always a delicious, seasonal recipe in there, too!
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For some, this beautiful time of year can be a nightmare. Trees, flowers and grasses are in full bloom, but so are the sinuses and even asthma for many folks. Most allergy sufferers reach for their favorite prescription medication, when in many cases allergy symptoms could be reduced significantly or altogether through a few dietary changes.
Let’s backup for just a minute. During the winter months, our bodies become depleted, congested and even inflamed. The adrenal glands become fatigued and can’t quell the inflammation. Healthy adrenals act as a natural steroid to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions in the body. Furthermore, the liver is so congested that it can’t process toxins efficiently and they build up in our body. As a result, our immune systems tend to react more to the environment than normal and produce excess histamines that the body can’t keep up with for long without experiencing symptoms. Spring allergies are a perfect example of this.
This is one of the reasons why detoxification is so important this time of year. I have had clients forget they even had spring allergies while detoxing. The moment they eat those trigger foods after the detox, allergy symptoms came back with a vengeance. For more information about detoxification, please check out this post.
If you have spring allergies, I recommend you stick to a whole foods diet full of fruits and vegetables. Cut processed foods out and avoid or significantly reduce the following:
- flour and products made with flour
- coffee and black tea
If you still don’t find relief, you may need to consider a low-histamine diet for a period of time during the height of the allergy season. You will need to avoid the following:
- Meat, especially processed, cured, smoked and fermented meats
- Fish (unless the fish is freshly caught, gutted and cooked within a 1/2 hour of eating)
- Eggs (a small quantity used as binder for a dish is okay)
- Fermented milk products such as cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir
- Citrus fruits
- Fruits such as apricots, cherries, cranberries, currants, dates, grapes, pineapples, prunes, raisins, strawberries
- Tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup
- Red Beans
- Soy and soy products
- Pickles, relishes and other vinegar containing foods
- Food additives
- Food preservatives such as benzoates and sulphites
- Spices such as anise, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, curry powder and nutmeg
- Fermented foods (such as soy sauce, sauerkraut and miso)
Experiment with these suggestions and see if your symptoms improve this allergy season!
In addition, I have found the following supplements to be helpful for spring allergy suffers:
- nettles (a combination of capsule, tincture and tea can be very helpful)
- vitamin C
- B complex
- licorice root (be careful – if overused can increase blood pressure)
- local honey
I personally take Design for Health’s Quercetin & Nettles formula. If you’re interested in trying it, shoot me an email and I’ll send you my ordering code.
The trick with these supplements is that you need to start taking them about a month before allergy season kicks in so they have time to build up in your system. In addition to foods and supplements, it’s important to get the body moving daily to process those allergens and other toxins! Also, I recommend rinsing your nasal passages with a neti pot regularly.
Have you identified any foods that trigger your spring allergies? Are there any natural remedies that you have used to soothe your allergies that you would like to share? Please feel free to comment below.
When I facilitate detox programs for my clients, I put them on a two to three week whole foods program with a week on either end for transitioning in and out of the detox. Frankly, the detox protocol I use is a lifestyle, and folks can remain on it as long as they would like. Some chose to stay on it well beyond the detox or take on a modified version because they feel so great on it and it facilitates quick, yet healthy weight loss! There is absolutely no reason why one can’t stay on a food plan that involves lots of steamed veggies, veggie juices, gluten-free whole grains, good fats like butter, ghee, olive oil and coconut oil and quality proteins (i.e. legumes and clean sources of animal foods) while avoiding the Sensitive Seven.
For those of you not familiar with the Sensitive Seven, they are common foods people have allergies or intolerances to including corn, dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts, soy and sugar. Bottom line: this is a great way to figure out how and what to eat for one’s unique body type in a fashion that’s healthy and sustainable.
Having said that, one thing that gets a little old for some on this program after week one, is the steamed veggies. They are delicious drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper, but sometimes you’re craving something with a little more punch. So I provide my detox clients with lots of recipes to “dress up” their veggies. I mean, the flavor of steamed veggies is awesome and there are some fabulous combinations, but why not experiment with some tasty, healthy ways to accentuate their awesomeness? My favorite sauces include bitter greens like arugula and detoxifying herbs such as cilantro. Not only are they delicious, but they enhance the detox power of steamed veggies.
I’m sharing my three favorite recipes to spice up any veggie dish. They can be accessed from my Pinterest page as well. If you don’t have time to make you’re own, there are lots of pre-made products like zaatar, harissa and pesto that are readily available at the health food store. Just be sure to check all of the ingredients to make sure they are detox friendly.
So without further ado…
Let me know what you think and please feel free to share your favorites here as well!
Coffee is America’s favorite drug. There are 100 million Americans who consume this breakfast tonic daily. 68% of these folks drink coffee within one hour of waking up.
Why are so many Americans obsessed with coffee?
Caffeine is a drug that produces a feeling of energy, alertness and wellbeing through its effect on the nervous system. It stimulates the adrenal glands which are responsible for your body’s stress response. If you encounter an emergency, certain things happen in your body to allow you to respond appropriately and let’s face it, get the heck out of danger!
For example, your pupils diets, your blood moves toward your limbs and away from your digestive organs, extra sugar pushes into your blood stream for energy (you need to run from that bear!), the immune system suppresses itself, your breathing becomes more rapid and shallow, more oxygenated blood moves into your larger muscles and so on and so forth.
Now here is the trick. Your body doesn’t know the difference between a bear and say…your boss…an annoying co-worker…your spouse…rush hour traffic…a missed deadline…or even your demanding children. The body responds this way not only to real danger, but also to perceived threats. So anytime your stressed, the body goes through this emergency response process to varying degrees depending on the severity of the stress.
In time, this leads to burnout, also known as adrenal exhaustion which creates a host of symptoms including digestive disorders, illnesses due to a suppressed immune system, weight gain, sleep disorders and depression to name a few.
Caffeine also interferes with nutrient absorption, particularly vitamins C, D, Bs, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. All of these nutrients are essential to the body working efficiently and are easily depleted by environmental and emotional toxins.
Caffeine is processed in the liver and interferes with the liver’s detoxification process. Yikes! We are overexposed to toxins in our food, environment and even our thoughts. It’s important to keep the liver functioning efficiently!
Caffeine disrupts intestinal flora; stimulates acid production in the stomach when you’re not eating which can cause heartburn and ulcers; and contributes to bloating, colitis, IBS, food allergies, abdominal pain and both constipation and diarrhea.
Because it’s a diuretic, caffeine dehydrates the body. For every caffeinated beverage, you need two glasses of water to make up for it. Be prepared to spend some time in the bathroom. It also constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure.
In some, there is a link between caffeine and muscle and jaw tension, infertility, anxiety, depression, memory loss and PMS.
I know. So I just peed in your Cheerios or quinoa flakes depending upon your breakfast preference.
Remember, everyone has a different threshold and tolerance for caffeine. Some folks are affected by it more so than others so it’s important to understand how caffeine affects YOUR body.
Please don’t forget that in addition to coffee, caffeine can be found in sodas, energy drinks, snacks, teas, chocolate and numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Read labels!
So if you’re a coffee drinker affected by caffeine, what are you to do? PANIC! Joking.
You could switch to decaf which has much less caffeine, but coffee is still acidic and can have other affects on the body like depleting your tissues of vital nutrients. In particular, decaf is not recommended if you have bone density issues as your body will steal minerals from your bones in order to neutralize the coffee’s acid. (Please note, if you do switch to decaf, please look for water processed decaffeinated coffees because decaffeination chemicals can be toxic over time.)
Fortunately, there are a variety of herbal coffee alternatives at your health food store. Woohoo! Now before you roll your eyes, you have to try one of my personal favorites, Teecino. This herbal cup of deliciousness comes in a variety of flavors and works well with a coffee maker or french press. In fact during a recent program I gave during Active Aging Week, one of my program participants enjoyed the product so much that the whole bag inadvertently slipped in her purse. 😉 Yeah. That was awkward but it was a great testimony to the taste of Teecino.
Of course you can enjoy a nice up of herbal tea in the morning, but I have to admit that when your looking for something more viscous, with that smooth coffee texture, tea doesn’t always cut the mustard.
Fortunately, we have coffee alternatives, but how do we get off the sauce? As you know, kicking caffeine is no picnic for some. I suggest that you cut back SLOWLY and mix your coffee with decaf or Teecino as your wean yourself from the nectar of the gods. If you quit cold turkey, be prepared for big giant pumpkin head, anxiety, fatigue and other unpleasant symptoms. Taking buffered vitamin C may help reduce Crankasauras and other withdrawal symptoms.
I’m sure some of you have gotten off caffeine altogether or are attempting to get off of it again. What worked for you? Are their herbal coffee substitutes that you really like? Please share here!
In my practice I get a lot of questions about fat.
Kim, should I buy low-fat products and eat a low fat diet? What about a no-fat diet?
Are vegetable oils spreads good for me or not?
What’s all this coconut oil hype?
Is butter going to jack up my cholesterol? What about animal fats?
All of these are valid concerns and with all of the the fat fads out there, it can be challenging to decipher which fats are best if any at all. I tell my clients that you want to eat fat in its natural form with all of it’s synergistic components. This is why I don’t recommend no or low-fat products. Often additional ingredients (i.e. sugar) are added to low-fat products to give it the same texture and mouth feel of the full fat version.
Unfortunately, this often can leave you feeling unsatisfied. It reminds me of those Wendy’s commercials back in the 80’s – “Where’s the beef?!” It’s better to eat less and go for the full fat version to satisfy your body’s needs. You don’t want the body to have to search for the “beef,” because these cravings can often lead to unhealthy decisions!
So why is fat important anyway?
Fat serves many critical functions in the body including:
- insulation – warms and energizes the body
- protection – cushions internal organs and holds them in place
- transportation of nutrients – carries important fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K where the body needs them most.
- structure – forms the structure of cell membranes and builds tissues
- hormone regulation – helps various parts of the body communicate and function
- nervous system health – plays a major role in brain and nerve development in addition to normal brain function and nerve transmission
There is a misconception that saturated fats are bad, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Saturated fats strengthen our immune systems, protect our heart and liver against toxins and stress, keep hormonal receptors on our cell membranes working properly and are required for hormone production.
Polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, safflower and sunflower oil should be limited and never heated. Studies show that many vegetable oils in the diet disrupt the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio which creates inflammation in the body. When we consume too many polyunsaturated fats and limit our saturated fat intake, our cells become flimsy and don’t work properly.
So what fats should we consume? Let’s take a look at traditional diets before the invention of packaged foods. Most people enjoyed old fashioned, organic butter from grass-fed cows, unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil, balanced fats found in high quality foods (i.e. grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, nuts and seeds, avocados) and even minimally processed coconut oil.
If you want to learn more about the importance of fat, what fats to enjoy and how to prepare them so they don’t oxidize in the body and create inflammation, join me for my Skinny on Fats teleclass on September 18. I’ll be covering lots of information vital to your health in just one short hour.
Do you have a story or recipe to share using healthy, traditional fats? Feel free to post them here!
Let’s face it. No one enjoys feeling bloated, but it seems to be even more uncomfortable when parading around in a swim suit. Do you sometimes feel like your stomach is a beach ball, ready to pop? Perhaps you happen to check out your profile in the mirror and wonder if others think you’re pregnant. You are not alone, Dahling! Often what we eat, how we eat and how we cope with stress has a lot to do with the size of our mid-sections.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help trim the belly bulge for the beach this summer.
Believe it or not, many people are sensitive to dairy and don’t even know it. Commercial, ultra-pasteurized dairy is not a real food, Folks. In fact, it can be too congesting for most bodies, wreak digestive distress, cause or exacerbate allergies and make people plain sick. Also, as we age, we don’t produce as much of the enzyme lactase which is responsible for digesting the milk sugar, lactose. Try eliminating dairy from your diet for 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it and see what happens. Bloating is a very common symptom. If you must have dairy, look for raw dairy products.
Sadly, gluten in wheat and other grains can also cause the belly to bulge. Because our wheat has been hybridized to contain more gluten (the protein in wheat that gives bread it’s elasticity) it can be difficult for most of us to digest. Gluten can create inflammation in the gut which can damage your villi and microvilli which compromises their ability to digest food. Food in the gut that isn’t digested ferments, creating gas and bloating. In the end, this inflammation makes your intestinal lining more porous and allows undigested food particles to slip into the blood stream, creating an immune response that’s often unpleasant. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Try eliminating gluten from your diet for 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. See how you feel and look. You might be surprised.
Increase Fiber and Fluid
Sometimes bloating is simply due to constipation. Food fermenting longer than normal in the colon can cause gas and bloating. The solution is to drink your darn water and plenty of it. Why? Water lubricates the intestinal lining and moves nutrients into the cells and waste out, an essential part of the digestion proces. It also dilutes extra acid around the cells that can create inflammation. So how much water should you drink? Most holistic practitioners agree that you should drink half your weight in ounces. Fiber, of course, also helps scrub the colon and keep it moving. So eat your veggies and fruits with abandon! If you can tolerate grains, toss in some gluten-free grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat for an extra scrub.
Sadly our society is all about multi-tasking and getting things done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t not work well for the digestive system. When you’re eating, focus on nothing but eating. Eat at a dining table – your coffee table or desk doesn’t cut the mustard! Take one bite and savor it for as long as possible. This may sound a little weird, but let you tongue play with it! Chew that bite until it’s liquid. This allows the enzymes in your food (if it’s raw or slightly steamed) and in your salivary glands to begin the digestion process. This means less burden to your pancreas (which secretes digestive enzymes) later! Eating should be playful and sensual. Enjoy.
Stress contributes to poor digestion and constipation. When you’re stressed, your whole body tightens up. Your colon gets tense just like your neck and shoulders and that just isn’t working well for digestive system health. When elimination slows, stagnation grows and so does your belly. So what’s a powerful antidote to stress and bloating? Play of course! Play is a way to connect to ourselves, be present and experience joy. So what sounds more fun – joy or bloating? I thought so… 😉
So try one or all of these tips and see how they work for you. Feel free to comment here and let us know which tip works best for your body. And maybe you have some additional tips or experiences to share with our Eat. Play. Love. readers!
Chelsea and I just started week two of the PLAYdetox at the Glenn Dale Community Center. We checked in with our awesome detoxers after week 1 which was all about getting mentally and physically prepared. To be honest, week 1 is no joke. And, if you ask the beautiful women we are working with this month, they will confirm! Each participant had a different way of approaching their prep week to get their bodies and minds in the right place for the adventure that was about to start.
So what does prep week look like?
Well, before you even decide to take the plunge, take a look at your schedule and see if this program is even feasible for you at this time. If you have a family vacation coming up or a business trip, it’s not that it can’t be done, it just makes life more difficult. Personally, I like to cleanse when I know I can cook in my own kitchen for the most part. Also, I find it challenging to eat slightly steamed veggies and legumes when my family is chowing down on crab cakes and sweet potato fries while enjoying a microbrew. Actually, I get downright cranky.
Also, detoxing is not for everyone. If someone is deficient and experiencing illness or burned out adrenals, their body needs to be built up before it can muster the energy to cleanse efficiently. Generally, it’s best to just put these folks on a whole foods diet that isn’t terribly restrictive. Pump ’em with organic veggies, legumes and high quality animal proteins and fats. Dump the sugar and flour.
The next important step is to start to prepare the mind and the body for day 1. Now some people go with the “let’s go crazy before we have to give up everything” approach, but unfortunately, for those addicted to caffeine and or sugar, it can make day 1 seem like a near death experience. Use this week to add more vegetables into the diet and reduce or even cut out poor foods such as sugar, refined carbs and coffee. It’s also a great time to try out detox recipes and channel Goldilocks to perfect your gluten-free breakfast porridge. During the experimentation phase, the porridge can look and taste like mushy gruel until you get it JUST RIGHT. Sometimes people find combinations that blow their minds. This is the goal of week 1. You gotta have something fun in the morning to get you going (literally and figuratively). And of course, you need to make time to shop for your food and supplements.
Now food is only one part of the detox experience. Our lymphatic system, which is basically the sewer system of the body, often gets bogged down by rancid fats, undigested proteins, dead blood cells, toxins, opportunistic bacteria and other pathogens. It’s an integral part of our immune system that needs to be cleaned and moved. Unlike our circulatory system which is always pumping due to our amazing hearts, the lymphatic system can only be stimulated by muscle movement. So what are you supposed to do? Figure out how you’re going to get your butt moving during the detox! Exercise, massage, foam rolling and dry brushing are great techniques for moving lymph.
Because PLAYdetox is a holistic approach to cleansing the body, we also have to consider the mind. Often we allow our thoughts to be hijacked by Negative Nancy. You know who I’m talkin’ ’bout! Nancy says things like, “I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, coordinated enough, strong enough, disciplined enough, creative enough, yadda, yadda, yadda. We doubt ourselves and never feel like we are good enough which is ridiculous. This kind of stress is more toxic to the body than a McFlurry.
So, just like you give your body tons of yummy, energizing veggies during a detox, you also need to pump that mind full of playful, sexy, super thoughts about you and your fabulous life. Chelsea and I enjoy creating affirmations and intention statements with our our participants, weekly. We also incorporate deep breathing and introduce a play menu in week 1 to relax the mind and soothe the soul. It’s a great time to internalize those powerful affirmations.
So let’s hear from you! If you were to detox, when would be a good time to start this spring, and what kind of intention statement would you create for yourself?
Although our bodies detoxify naturally on a daily basis, it’s not enough to clear out the stagnation we experience from junk food, overeating, pesticides on our food, pollution, stress, medications and other harmful chemicals in our environment.
Even if you’re a healthy eater, you would be surprised at the amount of toxins that work their way into our bodies.
For example, I have clients that are conscious eaters; however, the body care products they use are very toxic which is problematic considering the skin is one of the body’s largest organs. So think twice before you slather on that artificially, fragrant lotion because the skin is permeable and chemicals will penetrate this barrier and seep into your bloodstream. Cheese and crackers. I know – sometimes the seemingly most benign things are no good. You feel like you can’t win and wonder what the heck you’re going to have to give up next!
The good news is that regular detoxification can keep your body running optimally and get rid of toxins stored in your fat tissue that you consciously or inadvertently introduced to your sexy self.
So how do you know when it’s time to detox? Here are a list of common signs and symptoms of toxicity:
- angers easily
- autoimmune disorders
- bad breath
- body odor
- coated tongue
- dark circles under the eyes
- dark colored urine
- difficulty losing or gaining weight
- foggy thinking
- frequent colds
- gum disease
- hormonal imbalances (i.e. hot flashes, PMS, night sweats, fibroids)
- high blood fats and elevated cholesterol
- hypoglycemia and blood sugar imbalances
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- immune system weakness
- indigestion and heartburn
- irritated eyes
- itchy nose
- loss of skin elasticity
- oily skin
- puffiness around the eyes
- joint pains
- kidney stones
- mood swings
- muscle aches
- premature aging
- runny nose
- sinus congestion
- skin rashes
- sore throat
- stuffy nose
- swollen lymph nodes
- tight or stiff neck
- tiredness after meals
- varicose veins
Do any of those sound familiar? Don’t be alarmed if many of them sound familiar. Most of us are in the same toxic boat. If these symptoms haven’t convinced you that it’s time to get busy cleansing, be sure to check out my Top 5 Reasons to Detox.
If this post grabbed your attention, consider a gentle detoxification program this Spring. What do you have to lose? You may have to give up a few things and will most likely feel crappy for a day or three.
But, by the end of week one you will have so much more energy, clearer thinking and your digestive system will be working like a well-oiled machine sans bloating, constipation and other windy disturbances.
Of course weight loss is a bonus! My favorite thing about detoxing is that it educates us on what foods work for our bodies and how to transition into a healthier way of living. Of course, you won’t stick to the program all the time, but at least when you stray from your healthy habits, you will know what you’re getting yourself into and have the knowledge to correct it.
One of my favorite tried and true detox programs that I use both personally and with my clients is the whole foods-based plan in Elson Haas’ New Detox Diet.
Check it out and if it’s something you’re interested in trying, contact me about one of my upcoming group detox programs. It’s a supportive, informative and we always have a good time learning about ourselves and each other. And believe it or not, once you get into the groove, you’ll feel like awesome sauce.
Although primary foods, the aspects of life that nourish our souls, are most important to heart health, a diet of whole grains, dark leafy greens and healthy fats is vital to the strength and vigor of your heart. If you think about it, your heart is an amazing organ responsible for pumping and circulating nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the cells that need it as well as whisking away blood with cellular waste to the liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys and other areas of the body that assist with the purification process. You can’t live without your heart. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart also controls consciousness, spirit, sleep, memory and houses the mind. As you may have gathered, there is a deep connection between the heart and nervous system.
There are many nutritional studies demonstrating that heart and nervous system conditions are related to calcium metabolism. Alcohol, coffee, excess protein consumption, marijuana, refined flour, refined sugars and refined salts interfere with calcium absorption. In addition, magnesium, one of the most vital minerals for your heart, works in tandem with calcium to keep your blood flowing, your muscles working properly and your bones strong and healthy. Magnesium can dilate coronary arteries and normalize the heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium and calcium are both found in dark leafy greens and blackstrap molasses. Other sources of magnesium include whole grains, seeds, beans, nuts and fish. Calcium is also found in sesame seeds and dairy products. One of your best sources of calcium and magnesium is Granny’s mineral-rich bone stocks.
Other foods that are helpful to the heart are garlic, onions, flax seed oil and wild, oily fish such as
salmon. Foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus, leafy greens, strawberries and cantaloupe raise your HDL levels (“good” cholesterol) and keeps your arteries supple. Vitamin E rich foods such as leafy greens and seeds help to protect against the formation of plaque and reduce total cholesterol. Be sure to switch your salt to a high mineral sea salt. Contact me for recommendations as not all sea salts are equal. I personally use Celtic Sea Salt which has roughly half the sodium of refined table salt and over 80 minerals.
So what about fats? Skip the refined vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, safflower and
sunflower and choose more stable, heart healthy fats such as organic, grass-fed butter (raw if you can source some), coconut oil and olive oil. Some flax seed oil and sesame oil are also helpful in the diet as well. Studies are beginning to show that many vegetable oils in the diet disrupt your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio which creates inflammation in the body. Heart conscious people tend to shy away from saturated fats which is a shame as they maintain the integrity of our cell membranes in the brain and elsewhere. When we consume too many polyunsaturated fats and limit our saturated fat intake, our cells become flimsy and don’t work properly. Saturated fats also protect our livers from toxins and provide the heart with energy during times of stress.
If you are interested in hearing the other side of the saturated fat and cholesterol, controversy, check out the the following articles.
Of course, your heart needs plenty of oxygen so exercise is a must! Exercise combined with quality whole foods and stress management techniques will keep your heart healthy for some time.
Happy Valentine’s Day!