6 Key Strategies for the Prevention and Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is becoming increasingly common but yet remains underdiagnosed, and is the most common liver disease in Canada. It is diagnosed in women who consume less than 20g/day of alcohol and in men who consume less than 30g/day of alcohol, and other causes for liver disease are ruled out. NAFLD is on a spectrum from mild fat (triglyceride) accumulation to inflammation and scarring (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH), and eventually liver cirrhosis or even cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)[1].

NAFLD is commonly an incidental finding on ultrasound or suspected when an elevated ALT is noted on routine lab work.

There is a strong relationship between cardiovascular diseases (CVD), particularly coronary artery disease (CAD, disease of the arteries of the heart) and NAFLD. CVD is the most common cause of death in those with this disease. Insulin resistance, diabetes, endothelial dysfunction, hypertension and hyperlipidemia are commonly found in those with NAFLD[2]. Excess caloric intake, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle create the perfect storm to develop NAFLD.

First line treatment for NAFLD includes lifestyle interventions with an emphasis on exercise and weight loss. The following are key strategies to reduce liver fat and prevent the progression of NAFLD1 [1,3]:

  1. Weight loss. 5-10% weight loss goal depending on severity, achieved by a loss of 0.5-1kg/week. Severe caloric restriction and rapid weight loss can have a detrimental impact on liver health. An activity goal of 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity aerobic activity should be achieved.
  2. Mediterranean diet. A plant-based dietary pattern provides antioxidants and helps to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. It also helps to manage insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol reducing risk of NAFLD as well as cvd and diabetes. Choose plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, a variety of vegetables, healthy fats found in nuts, flax seed, and olive oil and choose more poultry and fish.
  3. Low saturated fat, no trans fats with an emphasis on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Diets high in saturated fats and trans fats increase oxidative stress, inflammation and accumulation of fat in the liver, also increasing risk for cardiovascular diseases. While healthy fats, such as those found in fish and extra-virgin olive oil, can help to reduce triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol, reduce inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver.
  4. High fibre, whole grains. Choosing more whole grains instead of starchy and high glycemic foods will help to balance blood sugar, keep you feeling full longer and helps to reduce cholesterol. Not only that, it also helps to maintain healthy gut bacteria which is important for liver health
  5. Avoid processed foods, and foods high in fructose. Process foods are often high in saturated and trans-fat and excess sugar contributing to excess calories and accumulation of liver fat. By eliminating highly processed and sweetened foods and beverages can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
  6. Reduction/elimination of alcohol.

 

 

[1] Jeznach-Steinhagen, A., Ostrowska, J., Czerwonogrodzka-Senczyna, A., Boniecka, I., Shahnazaryan, U., & Kuryłowicz, A. (2019). Dietary and Pharmacological Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 55(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55050166

[2] Arslan, U., & Yenerçağ, M. (2020). Relationship between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and coronary heart disease. World journal of clinical cases8(20), 4688–4699. https://doi.org/10.12998/wjcc.v8.i20.4688

[3] Elena S George, Adrienne Forsyth, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Amanda J Nicoll, Marno Ryan, Siddharth Sood, Stuart K Roberts, Audrey C Tierney, Practical Dietary Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Adults, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 30–40, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx007

 

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

 

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Two Tests You Need to Ask For if You Are Prescribed a Statin

Like any drug treatment (and even natural treatments) there are risks, but there are also benefits. Naturally our human brains tend to focus more on the negative - we are wired this way - but you can't look at one side without consideration for the other. The class of medication called statins which include the commonly known Lipitor/atorvastatin, or Crestor/rosuvastatin are one of the most prescribed classes of medications. I see patients all the time on these medication. We know those who benefit the most are those who have had a heart attack or who are at high risk for one. The benefits of statins go beyond total cholesterol and LDL reduction - they support the health of the artery lining (endothelium), support nitric oxide important for the relaxation of the arteries, act as an antioxidant and help to reduce inflammation. Not bad eh?

For those who have no known cardiovascular disease and are at a low risk for a heart attack, I like to use a more natural approach to reducing cholesterol where possible however, sometimes the best approach is a cholesterol lowering drug. Part of my role in working with patients is discussing all treatment options and advocating for the best approach for them. Not all cholesterol lowering medications or statins are the same and may pose different risk profiles. Sometimes it’s necessary to look at each person’s unique risk profile and chose an approach that will have the most benefit with the least amount of harm. What’s more is that if you need to be on a drug, we can create a strategy to reduce your risk of side effects. Two tests that help in assessing a patient’s potential for statin-related side-effects are vitamin D and insulin.

Vitamin D

Low serum vitamin levels have been associated with statin related muscle pain, and as a result, low adherence. Low serum vitamin D itself can contribute to muscle pain and so the addition of a stain medication such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) or rosuvastatin (Crestor) may increase the susceptibility of those already at risk, particularly if your serum vitamin D level is under 75nmol/L.[1]

Insulin

It is known that those who use statins are at an increased risk for new-onset diabetes than non-statin users, and seems to have a bigger impact the higher the dose and the longer duration of use. It is an even bigger concern for those who have any of the risk factors for diabetes (metabolic syndrome, obesity, impaired fasting glucose, HbA1C >6 percent).[2] [3] This does not mean that statins should be avoided. Rather an assessment of individualized risk should be done prior to making an informed decision about the use of statin, which statin to use and how to prevent future diabetes risk. It is known that elevated insulin is an early indication of metabolic dysfunction and diabetes risk and can precede changes in fasting glucose and HbA1C by years.

Any treatment plan, whether it includes pharmaceuticals or natural alternatives to drug therapy should be done with consideration of a patient’s unique risk factors. My approach when creating any heart health plan with patients involves not just targeting a few numbers in a lipid panel but involves a look at your totality of risk factors in order to achieve the best outcome for you.

[1] Michalska-Kasiczak, M. et al. Analysis of vitamin D levels in patients with and without statin-associated myalgia — A systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 studies with 2420 patients. International Journal of Cardiology. 2015. 178: 111-116.

[2] Jung Ko, M et al. Time‐ and Dose‐Dependent Association of Statin Use With Risk of Clinically Relevant New‐Onset Diabetes Mellitus in Primary Prevention: A Nationwide Observational Cohort Study. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2019. Vol 8 (8).

[3] Ridker PM, Pradhan A, MacFadyen JG, Libby P, Glynn RJ. Cardiovascular benefits and diabetes risks of statin therapy in primary prevention: an analysis from the JUPITER trial. Lancet. 2012;380(9841):565-571.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

 

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

Ignoring Snoring? It’s Not Just A Noisy Nuisance

Are you feeling that familiar elbow in your back night after night, or your/your partner’s snoring is so disruptive that you now sleep in separate rooms? Snoring can be a nuisance, but it can also represent a red flag that your heart and your health is in danger. Here is why you should not ignore the snore.

There are different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and is characterized by pauses in breath throughout the night while you are sleeping, resulting in unrefreshing sleep. It is an underdiagnosed and undertreated condition. Snoring is one of the most obvious signs but other symptoms include:

  • Waking up tired and fatigued through the day, feeling like you can easily fall asleep while driving or talking to someone
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up gasping or choking
  • Mood changes such as depression or irritability
  • High blood pressure and high blood pressure that isn’t responding to treatment

When sleep apnea goes untreated it can increase your risk for the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Arrhythmias or irregular heart beats
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain

The good news is sleep apnea IS treatable. Treatments include:

  • A special face mask that delivers positive airway pressure throughout the night
  • A special mouth piece (called mandibular advancement device) that thrusts your jaw forward to keep your airway open
  • Weight loss

What’s more is that you need to wear your mask for only 4 hours at night to achieve a clinical benefit (although you will feel better if you are wearing it for all your sleep hours).

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but snoring shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you also wake gasping or choking in the night or your bed partner reports that you do.

Click here to take this 8 question quiz to quickly assess your likelihood of having sleep apnea. Even if you score low but are suffering with your sleep and feeling unrefreshed in the morning, you should consult your health care provider for support and a proper assessment.

Sleep apnea that goes untreated can wreak havoc on your overall health. Frequent apneic episodes during the night place a significant strain on your heart – it increases sympathetic activation, increases the resistance your heart has to pump against (called afterload), reduces the production of vasodilating substances such as nitric oxide which all contribute to a rise in blood pressure and risk for arrhythmias and cardiac events. Don’t ignore the snore!

 

Hasthi U. Dissanayake,  Juliana T. Colpani, Kate Sutherland,  et al. Obstructive sleep  apnea therapy for cardiovascular risk reduction—Time for a rethink? Clin Cardiol. 2021 Dec; 44(12): 1729–1738.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

 

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

5 Non-Negotiables To Sleep Better Than A Baby

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this, it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  1. To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  2. To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as“synaptic plasticity”.
  3. To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need? It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night. For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  1. The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  2. Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack). Make sure you're getting some protein every time you eat.
  3. During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  4. Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm, or earlier for some people who are more sensitive and slower metabolizers of caffeine. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. And remember chocolate, green tea, and soda all contain caffeine as well. (I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  5. Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Caffeine-free chai latte for your afternoon “coffee break”

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

5 Mediterranean Grocery Staples To Keep Stocked In Your Kitchen

The famous Mediterranean diet – although I consider it more of a lifestyle than a diet – is one that is shared by the people living along the Mediterranean Sea. We tend to associate this eating style with those living in Italy, France, and Greece, but it includes many other countries such as Morrocco, Egypt, Spain, and Turkey, just to name a few. It is no surprise to me that this way of eating is one of the healthiest, if not THEEEE healthiest – full of variety, antioxidants, healthy fats, anti-inflammatory ingredients and not to mention packed full of flavour. Not everyone is familiar with the Mediterranean eating style and it is not difficult to start. Here are 5 essentials to get you started and help you reap the benefits of the Mediterranean Way:

  1. Olive Oil. This healthy monounsaturated fat is a key staple of the Mediterranean diet. It’s tremendous health benefits can be attributed to the high polyphenol content and anti-inflammatory action of this oil. Regular intake can help improve lipid parameters, support the function of blood vessels and a healthy blood pressure. Don’t over do it though as like any fat, eating too much olive oil can increase your caloric intake fast if you are trying to lose weight. A good place to start is incorporating 1-2 tbsp daily in the form of salad dressing or adding flavour to meals.

Pro Tip – purchase in dark glass bottle in smaller quantities and look for the symbol of the North American Olive Oil Association to ensure quality

  1. Eat more legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas. They are high in fibre and protein and low in fat, making a great meat substitute and helping you feel full longer. They are also a great source of folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium which is essential for healthy blood pressure.

Pro Tip – soaking beans overnight and changing the water once or twice can help make them easier to digest.

  1. Snack on nuts and seeds. They also provide a great source of unsaturated fats as well as a variety of minerals, fibre and a little bit of protein. They can help 1-2 small handfuls daily is all you need. They have a cholesterol-lowering effect as well as helping to reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity and blood vessel health. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans and macademia nuts are good choices. Also, don’t forget sesame seeds and tahini, as well as flax and chia to boost your fibre intake.

Pro Tip – choose raw, unsalted, and keep stored in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the healthy fats. Nuts and nut butter (such as almond butter) pair well with a piece of fruit or spread on some celery for a light snack.

  1. Incorporate more fish and seafood at least twice/week. They contain long chain omega fats important for heart and brain health.

Pro Tip – choose small cold water fish and wild caught if possible. Salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel are the best options for their omega 3 content.

  1. Tomatoes! (and of course other Fruits and vegetables) – Tomato sauce and tomato paste are excellent sources of lycopene, a key antioxidant for health, as well as other vitamins and minerals, phytosterols, amino acids, fibre and many other antioxidants. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their bright red colour. Tomatoes have numerous health benefits such as protection against eye disease, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease to name a few.

Pro Tip – cooked tomatoes with olive oil increases the bioavailability of the lycopene. Be sure to look for low sodium versions. And if you suffer from heart burn, you may want to limit or avoid tomato based products.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

 

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

6 New Year’s Resolution Hacks

So a new year has arrived and like so many others, you’ve probably decided that this year is going to be the year to stick to your New Year's Resolutions. If year after year you have found your dedication to your resolutions wavering a few weeks in, you’re not alone (myself included). In order for you to stick to your goal(s), consider these 6 things:

1. Do you have a specific action plan? This involves setting small goals and having a plan in place when you may be tempted by those left over holiday goodies. Don't just think about your goals and plan, write it down. When we write down our goals this increases our conscious awareness and tells our subconscious that this is important and to pay more attention to it.

"I am going to eat healthier this year" or "I am going to lose weight" are very general goals and can set you up for failure from the get go. Instead break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, if you want to commit to eating healthier you may want to start with one particular meal of the day. Maybe focus on making breakfast your healthiest meal, and perhaps only start with 2 days/week. So, rather than trying to make each entire day full of the "right food choices", which can wear on your willpower fast, focus on one meal at a time.

2. Is your motivation for change intrinsic or extrinsic? Consider the deeper meaning in why you want to make the change. Change is hard for all of us but if you can be clear on what you value most and how your commitment to better health aligns with your purpose it will be much easier to avoid temptation and stick to your new habits in the long run. Perhaps your choice to lose 15 lbs is so you can have the energy to play with your grandchildren and show them good health, rather than just looking good for your high school reunion.

3. Track your progress. Whether it's weekly or monthly, looking in your rear view mirror and being able to see how far you've come can help maintain and increase motivation especially when you feel like you aren't succeeding.

4. Realize that slips are not failures but part of the process of change. Change is friggin' hard! and accepting that you will have good days and bad days is critical in order to avoid sabotaging your goals completely when you have fallen off track. When you have tracked your progress, you can look back and celebrate the successes you've made along the way and use that as leverage to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and get back on your resolution horse.

5. Add a new healthy behaviour rather than ripping out an unhealthy one like a weed. It’s well known that it is far easier to introduce new healthy behaviours rather than stopping old unhealthy habits. These new changes overtime can take up the space where an unhealthy habit lies, and help you feel better and more motivated to continue improving yourself.

6. Have a buddy system. Share your goals with someone you trust and who will cheer you on when you are feeling discouraged. Having a social support system is a proven way to keep us on track. When you publicly declare your commitment to a certain goal, your commitment is strengthened. When you have an ally and you're feeling weak, you have somebody to talk to and who understands you. If you're not feeling motivated that day, they can help motivate you and celebrate your successes with you along the way.

Have you decided to make this year a healthier one in body, mind, and spirit? Book a complimentary discovery session to find out how we can work together to help reach your goals.

Cheers to your best year yet!

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

Prevent Colds and Flus with 6 Simple Strategies

The weather has been beautiful but don’t let that fool you, cold and flu season will be in full swing soon enough. Are you protecting yourself? Here are some simple ways to keep your defenses strong during the upcoming months:

1. TEAS: Nutritive teas are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to keep your defenses high as well as an easy way to keep your fluid intake up to support your detoxification systems.

  • Rose hips—full of that powerful antioxidant vitamin C
  • Stinging nettle—contains lots of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C, just to name a few. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties making it good for allergies, arthritis, and skin conditions such as eczema
  • Elderberry— has anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, making them popular for strengthening the immune system

2. SUPPORT YOUR GUT HEALTH: about 80% of your immune system is in your gut so it is important to take care of this defense system on a daily basis. Incorporate pre- and probiotic foods on a daily basis

  • Prebiotic foods—jerusalem artichoke, hemp seeds, avocado, flax seeds, dandelion greens, garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus
  • Probiotic foods—kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, miso, yogurt

3. EXERCISE: Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation and relieving stress. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Get at least 30 minutes daily of movement and the best exercise is the one that you will stick with!

4. MANAGE STRESS: It’s something we cannot avoid but we can do small things to help manage it. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly impair our immune system

  • Take a 5 minute time out and take some deep breaths. Try exhaling twice as long as inhaling to engage that parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”)
  • Left nostril breathing is great for those who are stressed and anxious, it will help you calm right down. It’s also great for those who wake in the night with a racing mind.

Here is a 3 minute youtube video to show you how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psuV0G3aLQk

5. SLEEP: at least 7-9 hours nightly and make sure you practice good sleep hygiene habits: sleeping in a dark and quiet room, avoid screen time at least 1 hour before bed (tablets, phones, computer, TV), avoid caffeine in the afternoon. The half life of caffeine is 4-6 hours so if you have a small cup of coffee with about 200mg of caffeine in it at 2pm then at 6pm you have 100mg and at bedtime you will still have 50mg of caffeine in your system which can affect the quality of your sleep.

6. HYDROTHERAPY: Water is extremely healing and a simple trick you can do is hot and cold showers. I know it doesn't sound fun but your body will get used to it. At the end of your shower do a short alternation of hot and cold. As your body adapts you can increase the intensity. Just alternative 3-5 times in a 3:1 ratio of hot to cold ie: 30 seconds of hot and 10 seconds of cold, and be sure to end on cold. The alternating temperatures help to improve your circulation and therefore help to get those germ fighters around your body to ward off any attackers. You will also feel energized for your day!

Remember, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or on certain medications such as blood pressure, blood thinners or diuretic pills, some herbs may not be safe. Always consult your naturopathic doctor for the safest and best advice for YOU.

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

Is wine good for my heart?

Is wine good for my heart? I get asked this question a lot by my patients. And the research is mixed, as it is for our beloved coffee! One day it's good and the next a new study says it may not be. That's because we are all different. Our physiology is different. How our body metabolizes is different. So there isn't a straight answer here, but I can share a few things that I do know. Although red wine (not white) is NOT a health elixir, it does have some health benefits owing to the polyphenols in it. One in particular you may have heard of is resveratrol. Resveratrol which is found in the deeply pigmented skin of red grapes does have some wonderful health benefits:

  • It acts as an antioxidant preventing free radical cell damage leading to chronic diseases and cancer
  • It can help to lower inflammation
  • Helps prevent diabetes
  • Helps prevent cognitive decline
  • Helps to reduce heart disease risk by reducing inflammation and clotting

(HACK: thick-skinned grapes have higher levels of resveratrol like in a Malbec)

There is research that shows it can reduce hsCRP levels which is a marker of inflammation and can significantly raise your risk for a heart attack (FYI, a very cheap test that I routinely run with my patients). But keep in mind, there are better ways to lower inflammation than drinking wine so you can't use that excuse for your habit 😉 Resveratrol is not only found in red grapes but also in deep purple coloured fruits like blueberries and blackberries as well as raw cocoa powder. Although there may be some health benefits to drinking red wine, if you are struggling with any of the following conditions, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with it and reduce the time you spend together:

  • perimenopause/menopause- It can worsen those dreadful 'tropical moments' - by affecting the body's temperature and cooling systems wine can exacerbate hot flashes and night sweats
  • insomnia, unrefreshing sleep - wine can interfere with the production of hormones that help with sleep, it can disrupt deep sleep, and increase trips to the bathroom, leaving you feeling less rested in the morning
  • Anxiety or depression - alcohol acts as a depressant in the body, but also can disrupt blood sugar and can lead to dehydration triggering symptoms that can exacerbate anxiety like headaches, fatigue, increased heart rate
  • gas, bloating or any digestive concerns - wine, and alcohol in general can muck up your gut and oral bacteria and messed up bacteria can contribute to more inflammation and heart attacks, so you may want to consider a probiotic

Remember, moderation is always key but that does NOT mean a few glasses throughout the week with dinner and more on the weekends.

So, for those of you who are considering working with me to reduce your risk of a heart attack, rest assured you can still enjoy your wine but I will help you to choose wisely 🙂

 

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

References:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-alcohol-affects-quality-and-quantity-sleep

6 Heart Disease Risk Factors You Don’t Know About

We all know and often hear about the traditional risk factors for heart disease: smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, hypertension, and poor diet. However, there are a number of factors which can increase your risk considerably which are much less talked about.

Conditions in Pregnancy

Conditions such as hypertension in pregnancy and gestational diabetes or impaired glucose control can significantly increase your risk for heart disease and heart attacks later in life, EVEN IF you now have normal blood pressure and blood sugar. Pregnancy is like a stress test for women, and can unmask metabolic issues you may not have otherwise known. Having these conditions impair the endothelium, the delicate lining of the arteries, which regulates blood pressure, inflammation, and clotting. Its damage to this protective lining that sets people up for heart disease later in life…even 25 years later!

The good news…eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting the appropriate tests, and managing other risk factors, mitigates your risk.

Sleep Apnea

There are several types of sleep apnea but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax and block your airway during sleep. This happens intermittently and is associated with loud snoring that is punctuated by periods of silence. Sometimes people wake gasping at night which settles relatively quickly within a few breaths. And sometimes people with sleep apnea actually think they sleep relatively well.

When breathing stops throughout the night, and this can happen hundreds of times, it places a significant amount of stress on the body which can persist throughout the next day. Sleep apnea contributes to high blood pressure mediated through signals coming from the brain to increase blood flow when oxygen levels drop.

Most people think that those with sleep apnea are overweight, however, this condition can occur in those that are thin and healthy, and it also increases in women after menopause.

What you can do: if your partner complains of loud snoring or you are feeling extremely tired and sleepy during the day, ask your doctor about getting a sleep study.

Depression

Depression and heart disease are a two-way street. Those with depression have been found to have higher levels of inflammation and for those suffering from depression, it makes it harder to engage in heart- and mental health-protective behaviours such as exercise, socializing, eating healthy, or quitting smoking. Those that have depression have worse outcomes after a heart attack.

Living with depression is hard. But know that there is help out there. The first step is recognizing you are struggling and asking for help. You are loved and deserve to feel your best.

What’s good for the heart is good for the mind.

Poor Gut Health

Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut”.

The gut is home to trillions of bugs that interact with the food we eat. This is called the microbiome. They produce waste products, some good and some not so good, influencing our weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, mental health, and inflammation-all risk factors for heart disease.

Your microbiome is like a finger print – it is unique to you and can influence your susceptibility to disease. We do a lot of things that mess up our gut ecosystem: eating highly processed foods, little fibre and plant foods, and take certain medications like acid blocking medications and anti-inflammatories. And antibiotics are like an atomic bomb to our guts! If we tend to our inner community by feeding it a variety of plant based foods, fibre, fermented foods, and less animal products we can influence our heart health through a healthier gut.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located at the base of your neck and responds to signals from the brain to release thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play an important role in your overall health and feeling your best, and have a direct effect on your heart health in a number of ways.

Thyroid hormones effect the contractility of your heart, in other words how strong your heart is contracting to pump blood forward, it effects your heart rate and regularity, it effects the tone of your vascular system, impacting blood pressure and it also impacts your LDL levels by affecting receptors that take up LDL from the circulation. Thyroid hormones also prevent LDL oxidation which is a process that turns LDL into a very damaging molecule that significantly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries leading to heart disease.

Gum Disease

Do you suffer from bleeding gums, deep pockets, or cavities? Have you been diagnosed with periodontal disease or treated for oral infections? Then you are at risk for heart disease.

Poor oral health has been linked with heart disease and significant increased risk for heart attacks due to unchecked inflammation.

The good news is that you can actually get tested to find out if you have too many bad bacteria residing in your mouth and get appropriate treatment.

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call now.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.