Do you have signs of a toxic brain?


When toxins build up in our brains over time, we might experience fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration and memory, moodiness, vertigo (dizziness), headaches, confusion, and even unhealthy cravings.

Environmental toxins come from many sources, including water, food, air, personal care and cleaning products, dental fillings and sealants, paint, synthetic fertilizers (Roundup), air pollution, cigarettes, plastic food and beverage containers, cash register receipts, and the list goes on.

Let’s talk about toxins in food that can damage the brain and increase the risk of memory problems and dementia.

Mercury is a heavy metal that accumulates in the fatty flesh of larger fish, such as grouper, King mackerel, albacore and bigeye tuna, orange roughy, marlin, swordfish, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. When we eat mercury-contaminated fish, it can store in our fatty tissue. Our brain contains lots of fatty tissue.

Eat cilantro with your fish, which is known to help bind with mercury and remove it from the body. Also, eat plenty of fiber-rich plant foods with fish, or you won’t be removing anything!

Foods grown in conventional soil that has been treated with synthetic fertilizers may contain high amounts of cadmium, which is a highly toxic heavy metal. It can accumulate in the liver and kidneys, interfering with detoxification. Studies have associated high cadmium levels with osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Eat organic produce as often as possible.

Alert: Cigarettes contain high amounts of cadmium!

Pesticides (organochlorines and organophosphates) are neurotoxins and also promote weight gain, because toxins are stored in fat cells to protect our organs. In one study, people who were in the top 5% of exposure to DDT (organochlorine pesticide) had a 650% increased risk of developing dementia. Check the Dirty Dozen List at ewg.org to find which produce has the most pesticide residues.

Glyphosate is an herbicide found in Roundup weed killer, and its residues are found in genetically-modified crops (GMOs). Glyphosate has been shown to interfere with testosterone and estrogen balance and damage cells, increasing the risk for cancer. Avoid GMOs! Look for the “Non-GMO Verified Project” symbol on food and beverage packages. Learn which foods are commonly genetically modified by visiting www.nongmoproject.org.

Apples are usually on the Dirty Dozen List and are often sprayed with diphenylamine to make them shiny and slow discoloration. This chemical breaks down into nitrosamines, which are carcinogic and associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

So, what’s a person to do? A good place to start is by limiting exposure and supporting detoxification:

  1. Eat organic (especially those on the Dirty Dozen List) as often as possible. One study: Certain pesticide levels decreased in the urine of one family by 95% after two weeks of eating organic food. Another study: The levels of neurotoxic pesticides in children who ate conventionally-grown foods (non-organic) were nine times higher than in those who ate organic.
  2. Avoid genetically-modified foods. As much as 96% of US soy is genetically modified and contains high levels of arsenic and cadmium. Soy is in so many processed foods. Only buy organic whole soy products.
  3. Read and understand food and beverage labels, and avoid toxic ingredients. Download my free Label Reading Guidelines PDF to get 15 label-reading tips. Join my free 6-Day Label Reading Challenge starting next Monday, May 6, by joining my Learning to be Healthy with Lisa Private Facebook Group.
  4. Avoid processed meats that contain nitrates and nitrites. These nitrosamines encourage the liver to produce toxic fats.
  5. Eat enough fiber to help bind toxins in the colon and remove them from the body.
  6. Drink enough pure water (filtered with charcoal or reverse osmosis) to help the kidneys flush out toxins.
  7. Support your liver (major detoxification organ) by eating cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.).
  8. Exercise to sweat and move your lymphatic system. Toxins are released in sweat, and more glutathione is made, which is a powerful detoxifying antioxidant. Sitting for prolonged periods is like a stagnant river.
  9. Register for the free online DIY Detox Summit!
  10. Ask God for wisdom, and learn to enjoy God’s food instead of man’s food!

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

Label Reading Guidelines free download

www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa

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.

The Connection between Artificial Sweeteners, Blood Sugar, and Weight Loss

If you are using artificial sweeteners as a way to help control your weight or blood sugar, think again!

An Israeli study in 2014 found that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose) raised blood sugar levels in mice.  They followed up with research on approximately 400 non-diabetic individuals and found that consumption of artificial sweeteners increased their blood sugar levels similar to those found in the mice.

Artificial sweeteners also alter gut bacteria, which is an important part of blood sugar regulation.

It is well documented that chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to obesity.

A recent study of more than 3,000 pregnant women and their infants found that mothers who consumed more beverages containing artificial sweeteners were twice as likely to have children who were overweight than those who used less.  (Research led by Meghan Azad, assistant professor of pediatrics and child health at the University of Manitoba.)

If that’s not enough to make you cautious about your intake of artificial sweeteners, here’s a few more thoughts:

A 2015 press release pointed out that the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends that consumers avoid aspartame (NutraSweet is a brand name) and has urged food manufacturers not to use it.  CSPI based their recommendations on studies that link cancer, including brain tumors, to the consumptiontion of aspartame.

A study at the University of Iowa of almost 60,000 women found that, on average, those who consumed at least two or more diet sodas per day had a higher body mass index, as well as higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure.  All of these conditions can contribute to heart disease.

A 2014 study at the University of North Dakota found a connection to neurological heath.  Those participants who maintained a short-term high-aspertame diet were more depressed and irritable. They also performed worse on spatial orientation tests.

The Journal of Applied Nutrition (1988) reported the results of a survey by the late Dr. H. J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist that analyzed the reactions of 551 individuals to NutraSweet (aspartame) consumption.  He found the most common reactions were headaches, dizziness, memory loss, confusion, vision problems, depression, irritability, and anxiety attacks.

Dr. Roberts wrote a book, Aspartame Disease:  An Ignored Epidemic (published in 2001), in which he documents a more detailed account of the above reactions, along with less common reactions, like low blood sugar, bloating, skin problems, restless leg syndrome, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, thinning hair, blindness, burning urination, and joint pain.

Read the ingredients on all foods, beverages, gum, vitamins (especially children’s), and even over-the-counter drugs.  Aspartame alone is in an estimated 6,000 diet and sugar-free products!

If a label says it contains “phenylalanine,” aspartame is one of the ingredients.

Avoid saccharin, Sweet ‘n Low, sucralose, Splenda, aspartame, NutraSweet, and other artificial sweeteners.  You are not made of artificial ingredients, so they have no place in your body!

For a more complete list of artificial sweeteners, visit this link:  https://www.doctoroz.com/article/list-names-artificial-sweeteners

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

Need some help with planning healthy meals, along with daily health tips and motivation?  Check out my 6-Week Health Transformation!

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!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                     (Download your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Order mineral-rich sea salt and milk thistle here)

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.

Two Brazil nuts a day may help keep the doctor away!

Brazil nuts contain selenium, a trace mineral essential to health.  Some of selenium’s impressive benefits include:

*Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage.

*Helps maintain elasticity of the skin and other tissues.

*Aids function of the pancreas.

*Helps prevent hardening of the arteries and has anti-clotting effects in the blood.

*Helps convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 (important for energy and metabolism).

*Reduces heavy metal toxicity.

*Enhances the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

*Helps improve male fertility, and important for the normal development of a baby during pregnancy.

*Helps prevent cataracts.

*Helps with dandruff and seborrhea.

Consider the following research:

Studies have shown that low levels of selenium are associated with heart disease, skin problems, cataracts, muscular dystrophy, various infections, growth retardation, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.

There is a strong link between low levels of selenium and cancer, especially of the colon, prostate, ovary, breast, skin, bladder, and lungs, as well as leukemia.

Studies have shown reduced fertility due to selenium deficiency.

In Australia, studies show that there may be a relationship between crib death (SIDS) and selenium deficiency.

Research in the 1970s demonstrated the following benefits of selenium:

*Helps protect against radiation.

*Helps detoxify heavy metals such as mercury by preventing their absorption and aiding in excretion.

*In animal studies, selenium detoxified the cancer-fighting drug Adriamycin without interfering with its actions.

Selenium is best obtained from whole foods like Brazil nuts (by far, the top source), 100% whole grains, fish, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame seeds, and butter and beef from grass-fed animals.  Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.  Eat them whole or add them to your salads or smoothies.

The amount of selenium found in foods depends upon several factors:

*The condition of the soil–higher levels of selenium are generally found in western parts of The United States.  In areas where selenium levels are high, males show significantly lower overall cancer death rates.

*Fertilizers that contain sulfur can prevent the absorption of selenium from the soil by the plant.

*The benefits of selenium are reduced by heat, processing, and cooking.  Refining grains (enriched wheat, white rice, quick oats, etc.) can reduce selenium content up to 75%.  Selenium is in the bran of wheat and the polishings of rice.  Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than quick oats.

Supplementing with selenium can be tricky.  The safest and best absorbed forms are selenium yeast and selenomethionine.  The inorganic forms that are not well absorbed are sodium selenite and sodium selenate.  Sodium selenite may also inhibit absorption of vitamin C.  If you are taking a multi-vitamin/mineral or another supplement that contains selenium, check the label to find out which form it is.  The inorganic forms of selenium are often added to processed foods.

Have a cup of hibiscus or milk thistle tea for some added selenium!

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!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Get your free download–10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!

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 healthier “candy bar”.

I tried a new snack bar this week that tasted a little like a brownie.  It satisfied my craving for something rich and sweet, while passing the whole-foods ingredients test!  It contained organic dates, organic walnuts, organic unsweetened dark chocolate, organic almonds, sea salt, and organic vanilla beans.

I teach my clients to read the ingredients first and the nutritional information second, because not all sugars, fats, proteins, and carbs are created equal!  The nutritional value of this bar comes from whole foods, with no added sugars, fats, or isolated proteins.

It contains 9 grams of fat (from dark chocolate and nuts), with 2.5 grams being saturated (the good kind from raw nuts and dark chocolate), and 0 trans fats.  The protein content is 3 grams (mostly from the nuts), and it has 4 grams of fiber (dates, nuts, and chocolate).  The sodium count is only 95 mg, compared to its calorie count of 180, and it has a generous 330 mg of potassium.  Potassium helps to balance sodium in the body.  It contains 0 cholesterol.  There are 21 grams of sugar (dates), but no refined sugar.  Natural sugar from whole carbohydrates does not contribute to inflammation like refined sugar does.

The name of this bar is Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut Bar.  It is made by Clif Bar & Company, is USDA Certified Organic, contains non-GMO ingredients, and is gluten, soy, and dairy free. I don’t recommend all Clif Bars, because many contain added sugar and isolated protein concentrates.  Always read the ingredients to be sure of what you’re getting.

So far, I’ve only tried the Dark Chocolate Walnut bar, but I also bought the Cashew bar.  I found mine at my local Kroger store in the health food department.

Dates are a primary ingredient in these bars, used to sweeten them, and are a good source of calcium, iron, beta-carotene (becomes vitamin A), and niacin (vitamin B-3).
“And he distributed to every man of Israel, both men and women, to each person, a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins.”  1 Chronicles 16:3

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–

“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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 healthier hot dog?

You can make most things healthier, and the humble hot dog is no exception.  Dr. Oz once reported that enough hot dogs are made every minute to reach the top of the Empire State Building.  Hot dogs aren’t going away.

Some tips for making a healthier hot dog:

Look for a few simple ingredients on the label:  beef, water, sea salt, spices like garlic, onion, paprika, and celery powder (a natural form of nitrites).

Choose all-beef (ideally organic, grass-fed) and nitrate/nitrite-free.

Avoid those with corn syrup, starch, and preservatives you can’t pronounce or don’t understand.

Serving your hot dog:

Look for whole-grain buns without high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and other additives.

Wrap your dog in a romaine lettuce leaf.

Serve it without a bun, topped with beans or other healthy toppings and crunchy veggies (see below).

Condiments:

Ketchup is commonly made with sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.  It may contain as much as 25% sugar.  Buy organic ketchup that has no type of corn syrup added. Heinz makes one sweetened with honey. I like to buy organic, because tomatoes are on the Dirty Dozen list.

Sweet relish usually contains sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup, and some have added yellow food coloring.  Read labels and search for a healthier version.

Yellow mustard is the winner among condiments!  It contains vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, and paprika.  Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for the liver.  Read the ingredients label to make certain that nothing else has been added, and check the amount of sodium in each serving.  I try to find varieties made with apple cider vinegar and whole-grain mustard.

Some healthy toppings:

Sauerkraut, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, kimchi, mushrooms, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, guacamole, hummus, pickles and pickled vegetables (some contain food coloring), alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds, radishes, goat or feta cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, beans (if using canned, read the ingredients and avoid hydrogenated fats and sugar).  If you like a sweet dog, try some raw honey instead of ketchup.  It’s actually good.

Skip the chips!  Add lots of crunchy vegetables instead.  These will add nutrients and fiber to give you energy to enjoy other Memorial Day activities!  If you must have a few chips, stick to plainer varieties, like potato and corn chips, and avoid those with food colorings, artificial flavors, MSG, sugar, etc., etc. Potatoes and corn are commonly genetically modified, so look for the non-GMO label or buy organic.

Crunchy raw vegetables:

Carrots, sweet peppers, jicama, radishes, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes (they’re not crunchy, but add delicious sweetness), etc.

Eating twice as many vegetables as everything else helps to balance the health scales. They provide antioxidant power against carcinogens that may be formed when grilling meat, as well as other toxins.

If you need some ideas for incorporating more veggies into your meals, download my free Eat More Veggies PDF!

Just in case of food poisoning, you might want to keep a bottle of activated charcoal on hand. The capsules help to absorb toxins and are a great first aid when food is involved, including eating out and traveling.

Whatever you decide to eat or not to eat this Fourth of July, I hope you enjoy the love of family and friends!

Keep learning to be healthy, and God bless America!

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.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.

Aluminum additives in food and personal care products can accumulate in the body, including the bones!

Aluminum toxicity accumulates over time and can be difficult for the body to eliminate.  Beware of your exposure from various sources!

Aluminum hydroxide is used in many antacid medications.

Aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate are used as stabilizers in many processed foods.

Aluminum salts are found in many antiperspirants (aluminum chlorhydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum hydroxybromide, aluminum zirconium) and can be absorbed through the skin.

In one study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, researchers found that women with breast cancer had a higher accumulation of aluminum in their breast tissue.  Aluminum salts can also mimic estrogen, which has been shown to increase the risk for breast cancer.

There is growing evidence that chronic aluminum exposure can be a factor in many neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

A study from Keele University in the UK shows high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer’s disease.   In 2004 high levels of aluminum were found in the tissues of a British woman who died from early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Cooking with aluminum foil and/or aluminum cookware increases absorption of aluminum into food and beverages.  This includes making coffee in an aluminum espresso maker.

Aluminum can be inhaled through cigarette smoke.

Read labels and avoid ingredients containing forms of aluminum.

Some foods that may contain aluminum:  baking powder, self-rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, processed foods

Foods and drinks in aluminum laminated pouches or aluminum cans

Toothpaste containing aluminum oxyhydroxides

Deodorants, antiperspirants, cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, bath salts, and other personal care products

Over-the-counter medications and/or dietary supplements containing aluminum, including the additive magnesium stearate

A healthy digestive tract will help move most of ingested aluminum out of your system before it gets absorbed.  This means that you need to eat in a way that doesn’t leave you reaching for antacids or make you constipated for days.

Eat foods rich in fiber, especially vegetables, and avoid processed carbohydrates that are high in sugar and low in fiber.

To help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria, eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar.  Add foods that contain live probiotic cultures like unsweetened yogurt and cottage cheese.  Choose products from grass-fed cows and those not raised with antibiotics or growth hormones.  If you don’t consume dairy products, consider taking a probiotic supplement.

Consume bone broth to help repair the gut and to supply collagen, shown to reduce the loss of bone mass and the likelihood of hip fractures.  There’s a basic recipe on my website.

Eat foods high in sulfur like garlic, onions, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, bok choy, sweet potatoes, nuts, turnips, and watermelon.  Sulfur helps the body to produce the antioxidant glutathione, which is essential for protecting the body from damage caused by chemicals like aluminum.

Drink enough pure water (tap water can also be contaminated with aluminum).

Get enough daily exercise and practice deep breathing to help remove toxins through perspiration and respiration.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Natural Health Consultant

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

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