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!”

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.

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.

Your Brain on Sugar

Refined sugar creates inflammation, which decreases blood flow to the brain.  This can trigger anxiety, depression, fatigue and headaches.  Studies done by Johns Hopkins University have even implicated sugar as a trigger for seizures!

Sugar lights up the brain’s dopamine pathways similar to that of drugs and alcohol.  Research done by Dr. David Kessler found that rats worked much harder for a milk shake high in sugar and fat, and the more sugar that was added, the more they consumed.

Stress increases cortisol levels, which can increase appetite and cravings for sugar.  Lack of sleep (less than six hours a night) contributes to stress and signals the brain to release hormones that increase appetite and sugar cravings.

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology reported that consuming sugar forms harmful molecules (AGEs) that can damage the brain, as well as the collagen and elastin that helps keep skin firm and supple.

Refined sugar comes in many forms.  Packaged foods often contain several sources of sugar.  Some of its many names include:

Sugar/Invert Sugar

Lactose/Maltose/Galactose/Dextrose/Fructose/Glucose (words ending in “ose”)

High-fructose Corn Syrup/Corn Syrup

Maltodextrin

Dehydrated Cane Juice/Crystals

Sucanat (better form of refined sugar)

Malt Syrup/Barley Malt

Turbinado Sugar

Honey/Agave (unless raw, it may be refined)

Beware of how much sugar you’re getting from all sources–sauces, dressings, cereals, crackers, nut butters, snack foods, etc.  Even if you’re eating a “health” food, check the ingredients!

Whole carbohydrates contain fiber, which decreases inflammation and cholesterol, which improves blood flow to the brain.  Fiber reduces how quickly blood sugar is elevated and helps release steady fuel to the brain, preventing sudden “crashes”.  Always check the labels of packaged foods for fiber content.  Aim for a minimum of 25 grams of fiber in your daily diet.

Replace liquid sugar (soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened tea, etc.) with water, green or herbal tea, or lemonade sweetened with raw honey or raw stevia.

Only consume fruit juice in moderation.  Instead, eat whole fruit, which contains fiber.

When consuming an occasional sweet treat, add some fiber to it.  Top your ice cream with nuts.

Subtract the number of fiber grams per serving from the number of carbohydrates per serving to see how actively the food/beverage will raise your blood sugar.  Try to keep this number between 15 to 25 grams, especially if you are trying to lose weight or have blood sugar challenges.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist I& 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.learningtobehealthy.com/healthy-start-30-day-challenge.html

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.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.

 

A healthy brain is made of healthy fats!

A healthy brain is key to making healthy choices.  The brain needs good blood flow, and inflammation can decrease blood flow and increase the risk of disease, including memory loss and dementia.  Diet plays a key role in reducing or increasing inflammation.

Healthy fats build healthy brains.  Our brains are 60% fat.  Bad fats increase “brainflammation,” and good fats decrease “brainflammation”.  Inflammatory fats cause plaque to be formed in our arteries, decreasing blood flow to the brain.  Plaque can also form in the brain as a result of inflammation.  This can set the stage for memory loss, anxiety, depression, ADD, etc.

Many studies show the benefit of a diet rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, including a decreased risk of dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss.  Those with ADD and depression are often found to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  Conversely, diets rich in these healthy fats tend to improve mood and emotional well being.

Eating one or two servings of wild-caught fish per week can help improve your omega-3 levels.  Farm-raised fish contain less omega-3 fats than wild-caught.  You might also consider taking a fish oil supplement that is certified mercury free.

Other sources of foods rich in omega-3 fats include flax seeds, flax oil, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, chia and hemp seeds, egg yolks (from pastured chickens), avocados, spinach, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and organic edamame (soybeans).  Add a handful of raw nuts and seeds to your daily diet, and eat two or more servings of vegetables at each meal.

The worst inflammatory fats are man-made fats known as “trans-fats”.  These include “hydrogenated” and partially-hydrogenated” oils, margarine, shortening, and even refined vegetable oils that have been overly processed.  These are the kinds of fats found in most packaged foods and used in fast-food restaurants.  Always read the ingredients, because a product can contain up to half a gram of trans-fat and legally claim to have no trans-fat.  It all adds up!

Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation.  The American diet is loaded with omega-6 foods.  Corn oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil all contain omega-6 fatty acids and are found in most packaged foods like chips, crackers, baked goods, and frozen foods.  Animal protein also contains omega-6 fats.  Eat twice as many vegetables as meat to help reduce inflammation.  Replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones.

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                                                                                                             (Free download: 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

www.learningtobehealthy.com/healthy-start-30-day-challenge.html

www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa                                                    (Connect with other health-minded people)

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Nature’s Sunshine)

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.

 

A healthy lifestyle is the best detox!

After the holidays, we seem to instinctively know that we need to detox.  There are many popular detoxes on the market, but in my opinion, a lifestyle detox is the best choice.

There’s nothing wrong with a short-term cleanse, like juicing or using special detox aids (apple cider vinegar, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, aloe vera juice, chlorophyll, etc.), to help us push the reset button and head in a healthier direction.  These aids an also help us recover from a health crisis (food poisoning, virus, bacterial infection, etc.).  A cold or flu is one way the immune system cleans out toxins, which are eliminated through the colon, kidneys, lymphatic system, skin, and lungs.

On the down side, if a detox causes an overload of toxins to be released from the cells into the bloodstream, you can feel pretty lousy.  Some people may even get too sick, because their bodies aren’t strong enough to eliminate an influx of toxins.  Once the crisis has passed, without the support of a healthy lifestyle, toxins will continue to accumulate and affect our health, including weight loss.

Eat foods that naturally detoxify the body.  Add a serving of sulfur-rich foods to your daily diet.  These include eggs, garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, watercress, and radish).  Eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber each day from whole foods.  This will help bind toxins and move them through the colon before they can enter the bloodstream.

Drink enough pure water to help dilute and eliminate toxins.  Add some lemon to aid the liver.

Replace unhealthy fats (hydrogenated and refined oils) with healthy fats at every meal.  Avocados, coconut, olives, olive oil, flax oil, fish, nuts, and seeds, are some good choices.  This will help reduce inflammation in the body.

Eat healthy protein at each meal to help build a strong immune system.

Eliminate refined sugar from your diet for 10 days and see what happens!  You’ll have to avoid most processed foods and become a label reading detective.  This one step alone, especially when accompanied by the above recommendations, will go a long way toward improving your health!

Make a plan to manage stress from all sources:  emotional, physical (lack of or too much exercise, lack of sleep, toxic food and personal care products, environmental toxins, etc.), mental, and spiritual.

These are some good first steps to creating a healthy lifestyle detox!  It’s easier when you have some ongoing support, so I’ve created a Facebook support group for this purpose.  It’s free, and you’re invited to join if you want to connect with others to give and receive support and encouragement for your health journey.  I’ll pop in to answer your health questions and post health-related information, and it will also be a great place to share healthy recipes and tips for staying healthy.  We can also pray for each other.  (Please don’t use the group for soliciting products or services.)

Here’s the link to join:  www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa.  You’ll need to click on “join” to be part of the group.  The group is closed, so any posts will be seen by members only.

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.

Holiday scents–harmful or therapeutic!

We want our homes to smell good for the holidays, but beware of toxic chemicals!  Company is coming, and we need to hide our “home” odors.  We quickly reach for a can of fragrance to spray into the air, or maybe we light an aromatic candle.  Could these odor maskers contain toxic ingredients that may be harmful to our health and that of our friends and family?

Conventional air fresheners contain phthalates and other harmful chemicals that have been linked to infertility, brain damage, hormone disruption, cancer, respiratory problems, and other chronic illness.  Many contain isopropyl alcohol, which can adversely affect the nervous and respiratory systems.

During burning, candles made from paraffin wax generate benzene and toluene, both known to be carcinogens.  Many candles contain artificial fragrances and colors that can irritate lungs and cause inflammation.  Wicks often contain lead, a toxic heavy metal.

Instead, try a chemical-free room spray made with essential oils like frankincense and myrrh, or lemon, orange, cedar, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, or rosemary.  Zum Mist makes a wonderful line of products with ingredients pure enough to use on your body!  I found mine on Amazon.

You can also make your own air freshener by combining 4 ounces of water, 1 ounce of alcohol-free witch hazel (I like Thayer’s brand that you can buy in a drugstore), and approximately 20 drops of pure essential oils.  Shake and spray!  Tip:  You can also use witch hazel as a facial toner.

In addition to their amazing fragrance, essential oils have many therapeutic benefits.  All contain anti-microbial properties, making them useful as disinfectants against viruses and bacteria.  Many are beneficial for the respiratory system, including peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense.  Natural chemicals in essential oils can help relieve depression and lift spirits.  Choose those that resonate with you when you inhale them.

God’s pharmacy of essential oils include cinnamon, clove, fir, cedar, lavender, grapefruit, lemon, orange, rose, patchouli, sandalwood, spearmint, frankincense, myrrh, peppermint, wintergreen, ginger, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, chamomile, etc.  You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a diffuser to fill the air with a continuous mist of aromatherapy.  Nature’s Sunshine has an amazing holiday special that includes a mini travel diffuser and 10 essential oils.

Look for candles made with lead-free wicks, made without paraffin, artificial fragrances, and dyes.  Amazon sells several varieties, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, which you can also find at Walmart.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

Matthew 2:11–“Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Holiday essential oil kit and travel diffuser special)

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

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

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.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.