Love Your Liver May 17 Challenge!

My grandson, Levi, was born with a diseased liver and had a transplant before he was one year old.  We remember that day, May 17, with prayers of gratitude, along with prayers for the donor family who lost their loved one.  Without a liver transplant, our precious 6 1/2-year-old Levi would not be alive today.

The liver is the largest and hardest working organ in the body.  It must filter and cleanse the bloodstream of toxins, which protects the immune system from overload.  Many people who have auto-immune conditions may have an underlying liver problem.  Reducing the liver’s workload can strengthen the immune system, helping to reduce allergic reactions and digestive problems.

The liver is also a major fat-burning organ.  It helps to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, making it important for weight loss.

Some signs that may indicate that your liver needs to be strengthened and cleansed include:

Inability to lose weight

Belly fat and/or abdominal bloating

Fatty liver

Gall bladder problems

High blood cholesterol and/or triglycerides

Hemorrhoids/constipation

Easily overheated

Skin problems like rashes or brown spots (“liver spots”)

Bad breath and/or coated tongue

Dark circles under eyes and/or red, itchy eyes

Allergies and/or other immune problems

Advanced signs include yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)

Some factors that can influence liver health include:

A diet high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which can lead to a fatty liver

A diet deficient in fresh and raw fruits and vegetables

Toxic food and beverage additives

Alcohol and/or drug abuse

Side effects from prescription drugs

Viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C

Auto-immune disorders (chronic inflammation)

Negative stress and emotions

On May 17, in honor of Levi’s liver transplant, I challenge you to love your liver by choosing foods to help support and cleanse it.  The following list includes foods to help you get started:

Dandelion leaves

Spinach

Parsley

Garlic

Cruciferous vegetables:  cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, horseradish, mustard greens, radish

Apples/apple cider vinegar

Lemons

Beetroot

Carrots

Grapefruit

Artichokes

Fennel

An added bonus is that these foods can help stimulate the liver to burn fat, making them beneficial for weight loss and cases of fatty liver.

Choose at least one fruit and one vegetable from the above list to include in your diet on May 17.  Afterwards, make a plan to add something from this list to your daily diet.  Don’t get in a rut by eating the same foods every day.  Variety is key to a nutrient-dense diet.

Some supplements that may improve liver function include milk thistle, dandelion leaf and root, beetroot, artichoke, turmeric, and lecithin.  Ginger contains lecithin and is anti-inflammatory.

You can find many of these supplements in tea form.  Be sure to choose organic to keep from introducing additional toxins for your liver to filter.

Nature’s Sunshine makes a supplement called LIV-J that contains dandelion leaves, horseradish, beetroot, parsley, fennel, and other herbs to help nourish and cleanse the liver.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

God’s Pharmacy–Ginger

Ginger is commonly found in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and as a condiment to sushi.  Not only does it add spicy flavor, but ginger contains properties that may benefit your health in more ways than one!

Ginger is affective against influenza viruses and has killed staph bacteria and salmonella in test tubes.

Many find ginger to be a helpful remedy for nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.  You might want to carry some ginger capsules or tea bags when you travel.

Warm ginger tea is helpful for reducing mucus congestion in sinuses, throat, and lungs.  You can use organic ginger tea bags or ground ginger spice, but fresh ginger root is even better.  Peel and grate or chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root.  Add to 2 cups of boiling water, reduce to simmer, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.  Drink a cup of warm tea every 2 to 3 hours.

Ginger tea or capsules make good digestive aids to help soothe digestion, especially in cases of nervousness, stress, or illness.

Ginger contains lecithin, which helps break down fats, making it useful for the cardiovascular system and weight control.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for headaches, joint pain and stiffness, musculoskeletal aches and pains, etc.

Enjoy a cup of warm ginger root tea to help overcome a chill and increase circulation.

Tip:  Ginger is warming and peppermint is cooling.  Combine these two for a nice balance.

Add ground ginger to pancake batter, oatmeal, soup, baked goods, smoothies, and stir-fries.  Use fresh ginger root to spice up fish, chicken, and beef dishes.

Caution:  Avoid ginger if you have peptic ulcers.

One of my favorite reference books:  20,000 Secrets of TEA by Victoria Zak.  I found mine for $5 at Barnes & Noble.  Here’s a link to one on Amazon:

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Healthy Holidays–Mindful Eating Tips!

Celebrating the holidays comes with a certain amount of feasting.  Enjoying God’s abundance, especially when we enjoy it with others, is among life’s greatest pleasures!  Unfortunately, too much feasting can turn a joyful celebration into days or weeks of uncomfortable recovery.

Eating too much puts stress on your body.

Food sensitivities can often result from eating too much at one time.

Food sensitivities can lead to health problems, like indigestion, headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, depression, sinus problems, achy muscles, weight gain, and fluid retention.  You might even feel like you have a cold or the flu!

Here’s some tips for enjoying the holiday abundance without sacrificing your health:

  1.  Don’t “save up” for the big meal or party food by not eating.  This makes it easier to overeat and is harder on digestion.  Instead, eat a healthy snack an hour or two before the event.
  2. Eat smaller amounts more often than too much all at once.  Pay attention to portion sizes (see Mindful Eating Tips).
  3. Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes to help you handle bigger meals.  I carry Papaya Mint chewables in my purse as a natural digestive aid.  (They also make a nice hostess gift.)
  4. Consider taking a multi-strain probiotic capsule at bedtime to support the good bacteria in your intestinal tract.  Too much sugar and alcohol can cause an imbalance, which affects digestion and the immune system.
  5. Avoid eating when stressed, and practice mindful eating.  Download the free Mindful Eating Tips PDF.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

This common ingredient can be a hidden source of inflammation!

Carrageenan is extracted from red seaweed, and it is commonly added as a thickening agent and emulsifier to many organic and non-organic foods.  These include dairy and dairy alternatives, deli meats, dips, cereals, desserts, snacks, frozen pizzas and meals, nutritional drinks, food bars, baby formulas, gum, supplements, and many other packaged foods.  Some rotisserie chickens may contain carrageenan, so check the ingredients label.  Many plant-based milks, like almond, oat, soy, and rice, contain carrageenan.

Carrageenan is often listed as “sea vegetable extract”.

Seaweed extract can also be found in some personal care products, such as toothpaste, facial moisturizer, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, makeup foundation, and sunscreen.

Red seaweed sounds pretty innocuous, but as usual, the problem happens during processing.  The extraction process changes carrageenan into its inflammatory form, which has been used in scientific studies to induce pain, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and other health problems in rats.

Dr. Joanne Tobacman, an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, has published more than 20 studies on the health effects of carrageenan, and is a public advocate for its removal.  She found that carrageenan as a food additive is capable of causing inflammation, and chronic inflammation can trigger any number of health problems.

Dr. Tobacman also found a connection to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance from chronic, low-dose exposure to carrageenan.

A study was published in January of 2014 by Dr. Tobacman and her colleagues that shows how carrageenan contributes to colon cancer.

Look for products that contain locust bean gum or guar gum instead of carrageenan.

The Remember, it’s the cumulative effects that often lead Cornucopia Institute has created a Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan at https://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

Remember, it’s the cumulative effects that often lead to health problems, so read the labels, and keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Citrus fruit–nature’s seasonal medicine!

Citrus fruits supply a healthy amount of vitamin C, which helps protect our bodies from cell damage, as well as improve skin, gums, mood, and memory.  Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of calcium and iron.

A deficiency of vitamin C has been linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The National Cancer Institute has called oranges a complete package of every known natural anti-cancer inhibitor.

Citrus fruits contain pectin, a soluble fiber which helps control cholesterol levels and binds with toxins in the digestive tract to remove them from the body.  In animals, pectin was shown to inhibit the metastasis of prostate and melanoma cancers.

Pectin has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar by lowering glucose absorption in those with type 2 diabetes.

Limone is found in the oil of the peel of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes, and in smaller amounts in the pulp.  Limone has been shown to cause the regression of tumors.  Studies have shown lower rates of certain cancers in those who regularly consume citrus peel.

Eat some of the pith (white part between the fruit and peel), as it contains high amounts of fiber, pectin, limonene, and other health-protecting compounds.  The peel also has beneficial amounts of these substances, but you need to wash the fruit well and buy organic.

Citrus fruits contain potassium, which helps keep bones strong and protect the cardiovascular system.

Citrus fruits contain flavonoids that help strengthen blood vessel walls and are widely used in Europe to treat diseases of the blood vessels and lymph system, including hemorrhoids, easy bruising, and nosebleeds.

Citrus flavonoids have also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, act as anti-inflammatories, and possess anti-viral activity.

An average orange contains about 64 mg of vitamin C, 238 mg of potassium, 61 mg of calcium, and 3 grams of fiber.

Orange pulp contains twice the amount of vitamin C as the peel and 10 times that found in the juice!

For the most health benefits, eat the whole fruit, preferably organic.  When consuming juice, squeeze it fresh.  There is much nutrient loss in packaged juices.  If you do buy juice, choose those with high pulp content to get more of the fiber and pectin.

Eat a serving or two daily during citrus season.  Choose from oranges, tangerines, kumquats, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.

Tip:  When choosing a vitamin C supplement, look for one that contains bioflavonoids.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Why an apple a day might help keep the doctor away!🍎

In the early 20th century, an article in American Medicine magazine praised the apple as   “. . . therapeutically effective in all conditions of acidosis, gout, rheumatism, jaundice, all liver and gallbladder troubles, nervous and skin diseases caused by sluggish liver, hyperacidity, and states of autointoxication.”

Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin, shown to have the following properties:

Pectin helps remove lead and other toxic metals from the digestive tract.  This is especially beneficial for those who live in high-traffic urban areas.

Pectin stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, which can improve digestion and support the immune system.

Pectin helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), making it useful against heart disease.

Pectin can help balance blood sugar.

Pectin can help manage both constipation and diarrhea.

In addition to pectin:

The peel of an apple contains quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Apples contain the mineral boron, which helps increase blood levels of estrogen, acting as a mild “estrogen replacement therapy.”  Estrogen helps prevent calcium and magnesium loss from bones.  Studies showed that just 3 mg of boron a day decreased calcium loss by 40%!  An average apple contains about .5 mg of boron.

According to Psychologist James Penland, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, a lack of boron can affect mental alertness and test performance by slowing the brain’s electrical activity.  Dr. Penland found that just 3 mg of boron a day increased brain activity.

Fruits, nuts, and beans are some of the best sources of boron, as well as honey.

Bonus benefits:

Apples have compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.

When eaten before meals, apples can help suppress the appetite.

Boron may hinder the excretion of magnesium associated with taking diuretics or digitalis.

Recommendation:

Buy organic apples.  According to ewg.org, non-organic apples come in second on the list of produce that contains high amounts of toxic residues.

Try this boron-rich Stovetop Apple Dessert recipe!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Eat artichokes to help protect your liver!

This delicious, fiber-rich vegetable contains silymarin, which has been studied and found to reduce inflammation and growth of tumor cells in the liver.  These studies showed benefits for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, liver toxicity due to drugs and chemicals, and increased survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis.  Silymarin also helped improve insulin resistance.  (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434).

A widely used source of silymarin is from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, commonly taken as a supplement.  Milk thistle can also be brewed as a tea.

Artichokes also contain silymarin!  They aid the liver and gallbladder by helping to break down fatty foods, which can help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and help to lower cholesterol.

Artichokes are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and folate, all of which are important for heart health.

You can cook fresh artichokes, buy them frozen, or keep canned artichoke hearts on hand. Canned ones (I prefer those in glass jars) should be packed in water or extra-virgin olive oil.  Read the labels!

I often top my pizza with artichoke hearts to add fiber and help digest fat in the cheese.  Many pizza places offer artichokes as a topping.  Add them to a green salad, chicken or tuna salad, eggs, meat and pasta dishes, or eat them with cheese and crackers, etc.  Try the easy recipe below for a quick dip, spread, or pesto.

Amazing Artichoke Topping

Blend until smooth:

Approximately 10 jarred artichoke hearts (drained)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.)

1/8 teaspoon mineral-rich salt

1 or 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)

Eat as is, or get creative and blend in some fresh spinach or parsley, pine nuts, or beans.  Adjust liquid (a little water or liquid from the jarred artichokes) and seasonings to taste.  Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy version.

Eat with 100% whole-grain crackers, cheese from grass-fed cows or sheep, and/or raw veggies.  Use as a sandwich spread.  Mix into pasta or rice, or use a topping for chicken, fish, or beef.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                                      “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.