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!”

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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.

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Magnesium–“The Relaxer”

If magnesium is removed from a cow’s diet, the cow will stumble.  Could it be because magnesium deficiency can contribute to the deterioration of bones and teeth, irritability of the nervous system, and muscular spasms?  Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body, including the heart, brain, and kidneys.

Nearly 70% of this essential mineral is located in the bones.

Magnesium relaxes muscles, including the heart muscle.

Magnesium activates more than 300 reactions necessary for metabolism, including converting glucose into energy, making proteins, and metabolizing fats.

Magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium, and aids its use of vitamins C, E, and B-complex.  A deficiency of magnesium could lead to deficiencies of other nutrients.

The body will absorb the amount of required magnesium from the small intestine and excrete excess via the kidneys.  Sufficient vitamin D is needed for efficient absorption of magnesium.

Our diets are often lacking in magnesium due to the refining of grains (white flour).  Magnesium is found in the wheat germ, which is removed during refining.

Produce is commonly low in magnesium due to its being grown in magnesium-deficient soil.

The high consumption of nutrient-poor processed sugar takes the place of magnesium-rich foods in our diets.

An imbalance of magnesium can be created by taking calcium supplements without balancing its intake with magnesium.

Low levels of magnesium are often found in the following cases:

blood sugar imbalances

those who take diuretics

chronic alcoholism

autoimmune conditions

kidney/urinary tract problems (oxalate stones and calcium deposits)

bones and skeletal muscle issues (backache, neck pain, tension headaches, cramps, muscle twitches)

constipation

cardiovascular problems (spasms, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, low HDL)

low levels of vitamin D

nervous system disorders (depression, hyperactivity, irritability, panic attacks)

tooth decay (magnesium helps form hard tooth enamel that resists decay)

excessive intake of caffeine (diuretic effect)

According to The Nutrition Almanac by John D. Kirschmann and Nutrition Search, Inc. (Sixth Edition, 2007), magnesium has commonly been used to treat fibromyalgia, glaucoma, kidney stones, migraines, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, PMS, alcoholism, high blood pressure, preeclampsia and eclampsia in pregnancy, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, osteoporosis, and musculoskeletal disorders.

The average recommended daily amount is 400 milligrams.  The typical American diet is estimated to provide about 120 milligrams per 1,000 calories consumed.  Then, we have to take into account other factors, like absorption, caffeine and sugar intake, stress levels, medications, digestive health, and other nutrient deficiencies.

Magnesium is found in all chlorophyll-rich green plant foods, making it beneficial to include fresh green vegetables in our diets on a daily basis.  Other good sources of magnesium are 100% whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Seafood, figs, dates, and garlic are also rich in magnesium.

I don’t often recommend isolated supplements, but if you feel that you have a deficiency of this vital mineral, you might want to consider taking the recommended amount of 400 milligrams a day in a form like magnesium citrate or malate.  Check with your health care provider first.  I take Magnesium Complex from Nature’s Sunshine.

Supplements can never replace the addition of real, whole, nutrient-dense foods in our diets!

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.

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

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www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

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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.

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

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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.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health

Once our food has made its way to the 20-foot long small intestine, enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to further digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  The pancreas also makes insulin, which helps to control blood sugar.  Too many processed foods can weaken the pancreas over time, and digestion, as well as insulin production, can be adversely affected.  You may need to support your pancreas when you eat processed foods by taking digestive enzymes.

About 90% or more of the nutrients from what we eat is absorbed in the small intestine, which is lined with finger-like villi.  These villi contain digestive enzymes that finish preparing the food for absorption.  Villi also help prevent “leaky gut” by letting in the good and keeping out the bad, similar to using a strainer.  When villi become damaged due to inflammation, they can no longer do there job efficiently.

Damage resulting from inflammation can come from many sources, including the malfunction of other organs, like the stomach not producing enough stomach acid or removal of the gall bladder.  Other pro-inflammatory conditions include a poor diet (including food sensitivities), fungal and parasitic infections, medications, and toxins.

When the villi can no longer properly absorb nutrients and keep out what doesn’t belong in the bloodstream, inflammation can affect the entire body.  This can trigger an immune system response, and, when chronic, can turn into an autoimmune condition.

Some ways to stop inflammation and improve a “leaky gut” condition:

Remove food sensitivities (you may need to get an IgG Antibody Test).  You can also use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink, how you feel, and poop observations.  Eliminate any suspect foods for two weeks, and then reintroduce them, one at a time, over a three-day period, to see if you have any negative reactions.

Eat fresh produce, organic meats, fermented foods, and bone broth.

Stop eating hydrogenated oils (soy, canola, corn, vegetable, cottonseed, etc.).

Stop eating refined sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup).

Stop eating fast foods and packaged foods.

After nutrient absorption, what remains enters the large intestine, or colon.  Some additional nutrients are absorbed there, especially fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).  This is where beneficial bacteria (probiotics) assist in digestion–about 90% are located in the colon.

The final step in digestion is the timely elimination of waste.  The average time for stool to pass through the colon is about 36 hours.  If constipation is a problem, probiotics may help, as well as flax or extra-virgin olive oil, which help to lubricate the colon for easier passage.  Fiber, found in whole plant foods, is important for moving waste along, as well as for feeding the good intestinal bacteria.  Water is another crucial element for helping to prevent chronic constipation.

Some ways to help remedy constipation:

Include healthy fats in your daily diet, eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, drink approximately half your body weight in ounces of pure water, and take probiotics as needed.

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.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.

 

Chemicals in Foods Linked to Disease

Almost all non-organically grown food has been laced with chemicals.  This may have a great impact on your health as you silently ingest these poisons.  Think of drinking a little poison each day, slowly weakening and destroying your health!  This is in addition to any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or food dyes that may be in your foods and beverages.  The cumulative effects can lead to chronic, degenerative diseases.

Here are some facts worth considering:  exposure to pesticides has been shown to change areas of the brain involved in multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.  In a study of 143,000 people, those exposed to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease.  Farmers who have been exposed to pesticides have increased incidence of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other cancers.

How do these chemicals get into your body?  When you eat the plants that have been treated with these chemicals, you eat the chemicals.   When animals eat feed that has been contaminated with pesticides, whatever is not detoxified by the animal is deposited into its fatty tissues.  When you eat this meat, these toxins are deposited into your fatty tissues, including your brain!

Processed foods contain a myriad of toxic chemical additives that are made from things like petroleum or coal tar.  Chloride oxide, also known as chlorine dioxide, is one of the most toxic bleaching agents used, and has been banned in Germany since 1958 from its use in flour.  Because the protective bran and germ are removed from processed white bread, this bleaching agent forms a substance that may trigger destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, possibly leading to type 2 diabetes.

Eat organic when possible!  Avoid processed foods.  Real whole food with its fiber, minerals, and antioxidant power intact (organic or not) helps to combat these dangerous chemicals before they can do their damage.  Eat grass-fed beef and dairy products that have not been given hormones and antibiotics.  Eat wild-caught fish instead of farm-raised.  Eat lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for their protective benefits!  Consider starting a spring garden, or grow some herbs on your windowsill!  Drink lots of steam-distilled or reverse osmosis water to dilute and flush toxins.  Replace sodas with organic herbal teas.  Buy organic coffee and tea, as these may be heavily sprayed with chemicals, which are released when hot water is added during brewing!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist

http://www.learningtobehealthy.com

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