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Your Thyroid is More Important than You Think

Thyroid ribbon sitting in a lady's hand.
Thyroid Support Ribbon

The thyroid is a small gland that plays a very big role in almost every function of your body.  Most people don’t realize the depth and breadth of influence it has, but your thyroid is more important than you think. It produces hormones that regulate your metabolism, heart rate, digestion, muscle and bone development, and brain function. Every cell in your body needs thyroid hormones to work correctly. January is National Thyroid Month, and the team here at Naturally. . . You think it’s the perfect time to shed some light on what the thyroid gland is and why it’s so important to all of us. So, if you want to learn more about how to keep your thyroid healthy, keep reading.

What it Is and What it Does 

Graphic image of the thyroid gland and it's position on the neck.

The thyroid is a butterfly or bow tie-shaped endocrine gland that sits low on the front of the neck, between the larynx and the trachea. It consists of two connected lobes joined by a small bridge of thyroid tissue called the isthmus. It is responsible for producing two main hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). It’s these hormones that regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate.

According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans, around 12 percent, have some form of thyroid disease. Those most at risk are people over the age of 60 (although it can strike at any age), have a family history of thyroid disease, have an autoimmune disease like type 1 diabetes or celiac disease. Check for a lump in your throat, and listen for changes in your voice. Both are signs of thyroid issues. There are two types of thyroid disease, hypo and hyper, and a simple blood test can determine if a person has either. Both are treatable and affect women more often than men.

Hypothyroidism

If your body doesn’t produce enough of the T3 and T4 hormones, you have hypothyroidism.  Symptoms include weight gain, constipation, dry skin and hair, cold sensitivity, and fatigue. Think of it like pressing on a car’s gas pedal, but the car doesn’t move. According to Healthline, 90% of primary hypothyroidism cases are caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland.  According to the Mayo Clinic, if left untreated Hashimoto’s disease can lead to an enlarged heart, heart failure, and mental issues like depression that worsen over time. While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, prescription medications are available to regulate it. 

Hyperthyroidism

If your body produces too much hormone, you have hyperthyroidism.  Symptoms include weight loss, sweating a lot, goiter, fast heartbeat, and feeling nervous or moody.  This time, think of it as pressing on the brake of a car, but the car doesn’t stop. Graves Disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones. One symptom is bulging eyes. According to womenshealth.gov, without treatment, Grave’s Disease can lead to irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, bone loss, osteoporosis, and problems during pregnancy for both mother and her unborn child. As with Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease can be treated with prescription medications.

Watch Your Diet

While the foods you eat won’t necessarily cause thyroid diseases, making the right food choices can help your treatment if you suffer from one.  Here is a chart of foods to eat and foods to avoid based on the thyroid disease you have.

Thyroid ConditionEat these oftenAvoid these
HypothyroidismIodine-rich seafood, eggs, dairy foods, and foods rich in selenium like Brazil Nuts and Oatmeal.Cruciferous vegetables, foods that contain soy, and processed foods.
HyperthyroidismCruciferous Vegetables, Brazil Nuts, Foods rich in Vitamin D, Calcium, and Iron, Turmeric Foods rich in iodine like seafood, eggs, and dairy. Foods containing soy. Coffee, chocolate, and soda.
Source: Medical News Daily
Buy this if you have hyper. Avoid this if you have hypo.

Don’t Go Nuts!

If you suffer from either thyroid disease, eating nuts may cause discomfort. Some people with autoimmune disorders experience gut sensitivity to nuts. This often happens when eating almonds, cashews, macadamias, and walnuts.  To test your nut sensitivity, eliminate all nuts from your diet for about eight weeks. Then reintroduce them, one at a time, in four-week intervals. You will see if you have any adverse reaction to any specific nuts. 

A Natural Thyroid Support Supplement

Your thyroid is more important than you think, so be sure to get your thyroid examined during your annual physical. Make sure to have your TSH levels checked during routine blood work, and act quickly if results indicate a problem. In both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, you will need to seek help from a healthcare provider for the best treatment.

With any medical issue, Naturally. . . You recommends being your own health advocate. Research your condition using various respected sources and discuss your findings with your doctor. Implement practices like adjusting your diet or exercise programs to give your body what it needs to cure itself. If prescription medication is part of the treatment, follow your doctor’s dosage and frequency recommendations. Naturally. . . You offers a thyroid-support supplement. Contact us through our website for more information.  There you can start a live chat and read about the Six Keys to Optimal Health. Let’s refocus on our health this year, and we are here to help.

Salt, Fat, and Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Salt, Fat, and Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Lower Blood Pressure through regular monitoring with a cuff and stethoscope.

Blood pressure naturally rises as we age, and if it gets too high it can trigger a stroke.   According to the NCBI, as much as 50% of Americans over the age of 50 could suffer from hypertension. So many middle-aged and older adults are concerned about their blood pressure and ways to lower it. Medication works but can have side effects. If you need medication to lower your blood pressure, by all means, take it.  But there are things you can do to lower it, reduce the dosage, and minimize side effects.  In this article, we continue our series on blood pressure.  Learn how to salt and fat contributes to high blood pressure, ways to lower it, and the best home-monitoring devices to help you stay on track.

How Fat and Salt Cause High Blood Pressure

Foods high in saturated fats cause high blood pressure because they harden arteries.  Arteries narrow with deposits of fat, and it takes more energy from the heart to push the blood through your body. It works like pinching off a garden hose. The smaller you make the space for the water to go through, the higher the pressure at that point. The same thing happens in arteries that get blocked by fat deposits. Pressure builds and less oxygen-rich blood gets circulated through the body. A stroke occurs because the cells don’t get enough oxygen.

Salt can cause high blood pressure but in a different way. When there is too much salt in the blood, the salt draws more water into the blood. This increases the volume of blood in your arteries and blood pressure goes up. 

3 Things You Can Do to Control It

Change Your Diet

Changing your diet is one way you can control your blood pressure. Foods that lower blood pressure include:

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Garlic
  • Mango
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes

These foods eliminate water from the blood, discourage the clots that cause heart attacks and strokes and helps heart muscle beat calmly.  These foods have a higher level of potassium and it’s best to use these foods in combination for best results.  According to an article recently published in the Guardian, diets rich in tea, berries, and apples could lower blood pressure. That’s because they contain flavan 3-oils which are naturally occurring compounds with a lower risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Get More Exercise

Alcohol can affect blood pressure in a variety of ways. Not only does it contribute to unwanted weight gain, but heavy drinkers, defined by consuming 3 or more drinks per day, can experience long term increases in blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting alcohol consumption to 2 or less drinks per day for men under the age of 65 and 1 drink per day for men 65+ and women on any age will help lower blood pressure. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medication, thereby making it less effective when it’s needed the most.

Cut Back on the Booze

Alcohol can affect blood pressure in a variety of ways. Not only does it contribute to unwanted weight gain, but heavy drinkers, defined by consuming 3 or more drinks per day, can experience long term increases in blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting alcohol consumption to 2 or less drinks per day for men under the age of 65 and 1 drink per day for men 65+ and women on any age will help lower blood pressure. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medication, thereby making it less effective when it’s needed the most.

Self-Monitoring Can Help You Stay on Track

Woman on sofa using a home monitor to track her lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because you can’t see or feel its effects.  There is no pain or symptoms of the condition. That’s why self-monitoring can be an effective way to help you make healthy choices every day.  Daily self-monitoring can also provide positive reinforcement of the work you do to control your blood pressure. A blood pressure monitor can be used at home and cost between $20 to $200. Here are some good blood pressure monitors for $50 or less according to Consumer Reports, October 2020.

Blood Pressure MonitorPriceBenefits
Omron Silver PB5250$50.00Helpful features, easy to use
A and D Medical UA67F$45.00Stores multiple user profiles
Equate 4000$29.00Displays average of last 3 measures
According to Consumer Reports, October 2020

I know it seems like we always say people can control their medical conditions through diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices. In some cases, that’s true. In other cases, it is not.  When your condition requires a medical solution please follow your doctor’s treatment protocol. High blood pressure is one condition where diet and exercise can help control it at best, and help lower your dependency on prescription medications at the least. Watch your diet and waistline. Get regular, vigorous exercise. Cut back on salt and fat.  It might be easier not to do either, but it’s better to suffer the pain of discipline today than the pain of regret later. For more information on blood pressure or any health and wellness-related topic, visit our website.  There you can start a live chat or check out any of our services or line of quality CBD products. Stay well. . . naturally.  

Know Your Blood Pressure and How to Lower it, Right Now!

Blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is one thing you can do to live a long and healthy life. Lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, are the primary ways to influence blood pressure. Unfortunately, individuals often make poor choices that negatively impact blood pressure, leading to serious health problems and death. Almost half of all Americans have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know it. In the first of a two-part series, learn what blood pressure is, how it’s measured, what is considered normal blood pressure, and why high blood pressure is called “the silent killer.” Plus, we throw in a tip on what you can do right now to lower your blood pressure. 

Blood Pressure explained

Blood pressure is blood pushing against the walls of your arteries.  Your arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of the body.  Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day and is measured using two numbers.  The first number, sometimes referred to as the “top number,” is the systolic blood pressure.  The systolic number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number, sometimes called the “bottom number,” is the diastolic blood pressure.  The diastolic number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.  Combined, blood pressure is expressed as “the systolic number over the diastolic number.”   According to the Centers for Disease Control, normal or healthy blood pressure is 120/80 (120 over 80) or less. 

There are many places to get your blood pressure checked.  Aside from your doctor’s office, many drug and grocery stores offer free readings. You can also get a home measurement device, so there is no excuse not to know your numbers.

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is higher than normal.  140/80 is considered high blood pressure.  The higher your levels, the more risk you have for heart disease, heart attack, vision loss, kidney disease, and stroke.

High Blood Pressure by the Numbers
Adults in the US with High Blood Pressure45%
Men in the US with High Blood Pressure47%
Women in the US with High Blood Pressure43%
Non-Hispanic African Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure54%
Non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure46%
Non-Hispanic Asian Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure39%
Hispanic Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure36%
Source: US Centers for Disease Control

Low Blood Pressure Issues

Elderly couple sitting on a bench near a white brick storefront.
Posture Low Pressure can put the elderly at risk of injury.

Low blood pressure can also cause health issues, including dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, fatigue, and depression.  Blood pressure less than 90/60 is considered to be low.  There are two types of low blood pressure, chronic and postural.  According to WebMD, Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is rarely serious. On the other hand, postural low blood pressure occurs in people 65 and older. Posture low pressure is a sudden drop in blood pressure when a person rises over a lying down or sitting position.  It creates sudden dizziness and increases the risk of falls and injury.  When rising from a lying position, we recommend starting with a sitting position and holding it 30 seconds before standing up.  

The Silent Killer

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer.” That’s because high blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms. It can damage the body for years before symptoms develop, then a person suffers a fatal stroke or heart attack. Therefore, many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.

However, there could be symptoms like severe headaches, nosebleed, confusion, chest pain, pounding in the chest, neck, or ear.  A hypertensive emergency can lead to a heart attack or stroke, so if you have any of these symptoms, take action.  It’s vital to know your blood pressure numbers.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure, RIGHT NOW!

Ditch the salt, keep the pepper.

On the positive side, you can directly impact your blood pressure through dietary and lifestyle choices. One thing you can do today is to stop adding salt to your food. Lose the salt shaker. It’s just that simple.  According to the American Heart Association, if you reduce your sodium intake to less than ¾ teaspoon per day, you could get a 25 percent decrease in your blood pressure.

That might seem easy. An average intake of 1,500 mg of sodium per day is a little more than ½ teaspoon.  But there is so much sodium in many of the foods we eat that it quickly adds up. In my next article, you will learn how to effectively cut salt from your diet through better food and lifestyle choices.  For now, stop adding salt to the food you eat, and you will be on the right path to lower blood pressure.

In our Next Article

Blood pressure is a critical measure of health and wellness. Knowing and managing your blood pressure is important to living a long and healthy life. The best news is that everyone can have normal blood pressure if they make the right lifestyle choices. In our next blog, we will take a more in-depth look at the risk factors and what you can do to lower blood pressure. In the meantime, lose the salt shaker and read past articles on health and wellness from Naturally. . . You.  Check our website for high-quality, full-spectrum CBD products and services to help live a long, healthy life, naturally. 

How to Determine if a Supplement is Right for You

A doctor consults with a patient to determine is a supplement is right.

According to a Harris poll, 86 percent of Americans take vitamins or supplements. From our experience, most do so with little concern. They read somewhere that a certain supplement cures all sorts of health conditions, so they rush out to buy it. Then they start popping pills in hopes for the best outcome. The fact is, supplements have risks, along with rewards. Another little-known fact is that the government doesn’t regulate the supplement industry. Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, there is no standard testing, trials, and labeling requirements for supplements. So before you reach for the supplement bottle, read this article. You will learn how to determine if a supplement is right for you.

The Wild West

The FDA doesn’t have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness. Manufacturers bear the responsibility for their own products. That means they can market them without any government oversight. Keep in mind the manufacturers are in business to make a profit. While many manufacturers are highly ethical and trustworthy, some may not report dangers associated with their products. Therefore, it’s up to you to do your own product research before starting any supplement regimen. 

The first thing to do is to consult with your doctor. Your doctor can confirm supplements you are considering won’t interact negatively with any prescribed medications. After that, it’s time to start your research.

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Event Reporting (CAERS) is a reporting agency that documents cases when using the products resulted in bad outcomes. Additionally, it reports complaints filed by consumers and health care practitioners. This database is submitted to the FDA for dietary supplements, foods, and cosmetics, and is where consumers can report possible harm caused by a supplement. This database is completely voluntary. Therefore, complaints registered here could be the tip of the iceberg.

Three Things to Consider

Two young women talking while sharing coffee.

When researching supplements, two questions should be front and center.  First off, do they work? Check with the National Institute of Health Institute of Health for the dietary supplement fact sheet. Look for case studies of people who use the supplement. Talk to friends for anecdotal evidence. And of course, consult with reputable health care professionals. After you have thoroughly investigated the effectiveness of the supplement, you are ready to decide if it’s right for you. If you decide to try it, give it about a month to see results.  Keep a written log of how you feel during that month and review it to spot trends in your health and wellness. Supplements, like prescription medications, can affect individuals differently, so it’s important to determine if it’s working for you. If it isn’t, stop taking it.    

Another question to ask should be, is it safe? Just because something is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many prescription and illegal drugs are developed from plants, which are natural, so safety should be a concern. Your doctor keeps your health records and knows if any underlying health problems exist. So, we recommend keeping your doctor up to date while using any supplement.

Additionally, third-party testing is important. Third-party lab testing provides unbiased reports on effectiveness and safety, so be sure to look for them. Independent testing is important for all supplements, especially CBD. Reputable manufacturers provide complete transparency and often publish these results on their website. These considerations will ensure you determine if a supplement is right for you.

Purity Matters

A single drop of water falls into a pool to symbolize purity.  This is one of the ways how to determine if a supplement is right for you.

What’s in this product? That is another question to ask. Make sure your supplements are as pure as possible, without added fillers, colors, and contaminants. Not all supplements have all the ingredients they claim to have. They may contain ingredients not listed on the label, and these ingredients can be unsafe. Specific, individual vitamins, like C or D, usually have only one effective ingredient. But herbal or botanical supplements often contain a blend of active ingredients not fully disclosed on labels. The independent group USP, or US Pharmacopeia, is a non-profit organization that sets the most widely accepted standards for purity. NSF International is another non-profit organization that sets similar standards. It’s also important to obtain your vitamins and supplements from a trusted source and look for third-party testing.

Supplements can be an effective and safe way to treat health conditions, but use them only if you have to. As discussed in my last blog, Healthy Food Can Be The Best Medicine, nothing beats the nutrient power of a healthy diet. Do not use supplements as a substitute for good nutrition. Turn to them after you’ve made changes to your diet and still suffer from a health condition, and always with the advice and consent of your health care practitioner. Finding the right supplements can be a challenge, but if you use the tools provided above, you can determine if a supplement is right for you. For more information on supplements and the six keys to optimal health, visit our website. There you can learn about our full line of CBD products and start a live chat with us. Our mission is to help you feel great and live your best life, naturally.

Healthy Food Can Be the Best Medicine

Fruits and vegetables in a heart-shaped bowl wrapped by a stethascope.  Symbols of how healthy food can be the best medicine.

Many people suffer from infections, feel tired, and experience conditions related to skin, hair, and nails. Sometimes these conditions need to be treated with prescription medications. But sometimes they are a sign of a vitamin deficiency and can be treated by adding specific foods to a person’s diet. Healthy food can be the best medicine. Food is effective, affordable, and readily available. Best of all it doesn’t have harmful side effects associated with some prescription medications. 

This article is part of a series focusing on diet and supplementation. In part one, we discussed the right food proportions, the ideal dinner plate, and portion size. Today, in part two, we will give examples of how foods can treat common health conditions. Plus, we scratch the surface of supplements and explore the benefits and risks that come along with them.  

Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency

If your diet does not supply a sufficient quantity of vitamins or nutrients, a deficiency will develop. You can develop a deficiency for any individual vitamin or nutrient. According to Healthline, among the most common deficiencies are iron, calcium, iodine, and vitamins D, B12, and A. Deficiencies can result in a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, they can cause serious medical conditions. It’s easy to test for vitamin deficiencies. Blood tests can determine the level of vitamins and nutrients found in your body. So if you suspect you may have a deficiency, contact your doctor to schedule a test soon.

Your Fork to the Rescue

If you test positive for a mild to moderate vitamin deficiency, the first treatment can be to change your diet. It’s as simple as adding a few extra items to your grocery list. After that, you have to eat them regularly. Here are some common issues and vitamin deficiencies that may be to blame. We also provide suggestions on foods that may help.

A stalk of broccoli pieced by the tines of a fork, islolated on a white background.
  1. Brittle hair and nails. This could be caused by taking prescription antibiotics and could indicate a biotin deficiency. Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, fish, meat, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Pale Skin, Jaundice, Sensations of Pins and Needles. These conditions could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Consume meats, fish, poultry, eggs to treat ad B12 to your diet.  Additionally, look for foods fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk can help.
  3. Bleeding Gums. You might be brushing your teeth too hard, or you might be suffering from a Vitamin C deficiency.  Find foods that contain Vitamin C in the produce department of your local supermarket.  So grab a basket and fill it up with broccoli, brussels sprouts, red peppers, spinach, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
  4. Red or White Bumps on the Skin. This condition is also known as keratosis pilaris. It is an indication of low levels of both vitamins A and C. Treat it by eating more dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy green veggies, and yellow-orange colored fruits and vegetables. 
  5. Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is a sign of iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
  6. Infections, Fatigue, Back and Bone pain. These issues could indicate a Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D keeps your immune system strong and is found in some types of fish, white mushrooms, whole milk, swiss cheese, and eggs.

Grocery Store Guide

As you can see, many nutritional deficiencies can be combated by eating some of the same variety of foods. One thing in common is that they can all be found in the healthy sections of the grocery store.  These sections include dairy, meat, and especially produce.

You will find them along the perimeter of the store. That’s because they are perishable and require refrigeration. The items found on the aisles in the center of the store are often processed to keep the shelf-stable for long periods. Processing often strips vitamins and nutrients from foods, leaving them with little or no nutritional value.

When Food is Not Enough

Supplements tumbling out a jar,

Sometimes, treating vitamin and nutrient deficiencies with food is not effective. For instance, strict vegans and people taking certain prescription drugs cannot absorb some vitamins, like B12, from their diet. An over-the-counter supplement may be another option to help with these nutritional deficiencies. Before starting a supplementation regimen, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about it to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any current treatment protocols.

A Common Misconception

Vitamins and supplements are usually a safe way to improve health and wellness.  Some people think taking vitamins and supplements can make them healthier and certainly can’t hurt them. That’s not exactly true. The fact is, under certain conditions, taking vitamins and supplements, if improperly dosed, appear to be harmful, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Healthy food can be the best medicine if you know which foods treat which conditions. When the right foods don’t work, supplements, if taken properly, might be the right treatment. In part three of this series, we will explore the risks and rewards of taking vitamin supplements and provide dosing guidelines to make sure you are taking them properly. Until then, visit the Naturally. . . You website for more information on eating a healthy diet and the five other keys to optimal health. There you can find recommended reading materials and links to buy them. You can also start a live chat to discuss this or any other health-related question.  I look forward to chatting with you soon!  

Your Path to Feeling Great Starts Here

A table filled with healthy foods and portions.  The Path to Healthy Eating Starts Here.

Many Americans eat an unhealthy diet, which can lead to all sorts of nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions.  Developing good eating habits is the first step to a healthy lifestyle and feeling good. In this multi-part series, we will discuss eating a healthy diet, tips for weight control, the perils of vitamin deficiency, and supplementation. The dinner table is where we begin and your path to feeling great starts here.

The Ideal Dinner Plate

Naturally…You believes in a macronutrient-dense diet with a balance of healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Our dinner plates, when filled with food, should contain 40 percent vegetables, 30% lean protein, 15% starches, and 15% fat. The typical American dinner plate contains more protein and starches, so adjust your plate composition to follow these guidelines when possible.

Portion Control

Controlling portion size is important if you want to maintain a healthy weight level. There are several factors that influence the amount of food consumed at a meal, including plate size. Believe it or not, the size of a plate or bowl, as well as the size of the utensil used, has a big impact on how much will be eaten. Large plates can make food appear smaller, often leading to overeating. In a study cited by Healthline, people using a large bowl ate 77% more pasta than those using a medium-sized bowl. Using smaller plates helps keep portions smaller and prevents overeating.

A man lifting a fork full of spaghetti toward his mouth.
Use smaller plates, serve smaller portions and eat slowly to control the amount of food you eat.

Another factor is the amount of food served. People eat more food when larger portions are served. When you are eating at home, serve smaller portions, trying to follow the plate composition guidelines above. Do not serve yourself more food until your entire plate is clean. Then wait 10 minutes.  If you are still hungry, serve yourself half of the size of the original portions. 

Restaurant portions tend to be larger than average. Restaurant serving sizes are, on average, about 2.5 times larger than standard serving sizes.  To avoid overeating, ask for a to-go box when you place your order, then when your food arrives, put half of it into the box and close it up.  Not only will you eat a proper portion, but you will have dinner for the next day! 

Slow Down and Slim Down

Another trick to reduce the amount of food you eat is to slow down. People who eat quickly tend to eat more food because it takes 20 minutes for the signal that you are full to travel from the stomach to the brain.  A faster eater will eat more during those 20 minutes. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to five risk factors are high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or the fats found in the blood, high blood sugar, low levels of the “good” cholesterol, and a large waistline. A study cited by Medical News Daily “Eating speed was associated with obesity and future prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Eating slowly may therefore […] be a crucial lifestyle factor for preventing metabolic syndrome.”

Mindful Eating Helps You Keep Control

A woman eating a donut and drinking coffee while she is driving.

When people are distracted during a meal they tend to eat more. Distractions can include driving a car, scrolling through social media, responding to email, and watching television. Slowing down and deliberately eating a meal is mindful eating and can prevent overeating.  Here are some tips for eating mindfully, from Harvard University.

  • Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
  • Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
  • Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
  • Take small bites and chew well.
  • Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If the answer is “No”, then walk away.

Eating properly is the first step to a healthy life. This includes food choices, portion sizes, and eating mindfully. All of these things are within your control. Nutritional deficiencies can arise even in people with healthy diets.  When that happens, physical conditions can occur. Specific foods and supplements may be used to treat those conditions. Learn more about this in our next article, the second part of this series on Eating Well, Nutrition, and Supplementation. Your path to feeling great starts here, and look for our next article. Uuntil then, if you have any questions, visit our website. You can learn more about supplementation and the Six Keys to Optimal Health.  You can also start a live chat with me to discuss this or any natural health topic. Let’s chat soon!

Are Your Personal Care Products Making You Sick?

A cancer patient, lying in bed and staring out of a window.

You might be surprised by the number of chemical toxins that find their way into our bodies. Most people want to reduce that number and focus on things they put into their mouths.  They buy organic produce and natural, grass-fed meats. Unfortunately, most people do not realize how many chemical toxins absorb into the body through the skin. Hundreds of chemicals are found in hair care, skincare, and cosmetics. And many of them are not proven safe for humans It makes you wonder, “Are your personal care products are making you sick?”

According to thinkbig.com, if you use just nine personal care products a day, you could be absorbing almost 130 chemicals. Most people use nine products in their morning routine alone.  Some cause cancer, while others interfere with fertility. In this article, we will tell you the importance of clean skincare. We also provide resources for what to avoid and where to buy chemical-free products.

You’ve Probably Been Exposed

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average American woman uses 12 products per day. k And these products contain 168 unique ingredients. Some of these products are toxins. These toxins unwittingly expose millions of people to cancer-causing ingredients. We all want clean products. But 20 percent of us get exposed to seven of the top cancer-causing impurities in personal care products every day. And once those products are absorbed, it takes only 26 seconds to enter your bloodstream!

A group of personal care products that can make someone sick.

The FDA to the Rescue, probably not!

Most people are shocked to learn about all the chemicals we are exposed to. This is because we wrongly assume the US Food and Drug Administration is looking out for us.  We think they would never allow products using these ingredients on the market. That is simply not the case.  The FDA has banned only 11 chemicals from personal care products. The laws that govern the FDA have not changed since 138.  According to the FDA, “With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient. They can market the product without an approval from FDA,” The FDA actually does not regulate the skincare or cosmetic industries.  In fact, no federal agency does!

Find out Which Products are Safe

Learning about chemicals in your personal care products is the first step to preventing toxins from being absorbed into your skin. Start by reading the labels on the products you use.  Look for warnings about using these products. This is especially important if you have health conditions or are pregnant.  These are BIG RED FLAGS that tell you to stop using the product, regardless of your condition.  Check your soaps and cleansers, moisturizers and lip products, sunscreens, and nail care products.  All of these products are potential sources of toxic ingredients. To see if your products are safe, visit EWG’s Skin Deep website, an online database of over 68,000 personal care products.  

Another Resource You Can Trust

Donna Mansbart

For sound advice on natural skincare, Naturally. . . You often turns to Donna Mansbart. She is a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician who uses natural skincare products on her clients. She educates people on the importance of results-oriented, chemical-free products. If you are wondering if your personal-care products are making you sick, she can help you find out. She has been working in the beauty industry for over 25 years and has extensive experience in skincare. She offers a full line of products that are chemical-free. Plus, she can help you understand the science of skin. Contact her here.  For more insights on this issue, Donna recommends the book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, by Stacy Malkan. 

Living a chemical-free life will make you healthier, increase your quality of life, and help you live longer.  Healthy and happy is what we all want. It’s the cornerstone of Naturally. . . You.  Visit our website, naturallyyoufl.com, to learn about the Six Keys to Optimal Health and get resources to help you along your life journey.  While you are there, check out our weight-management plans. Additionally, we offer total body detoxification programs and our superior-quality full-spectrum line of CBD products.  Use them to feel better, sleep better, and live better. . . naturally.

Five Things to Know about Sun Protection and Skin Cancer

Woman at the beach wearing a hat signifying the five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer.

By now, almost everyone who cares about good skin, fighting the effects of aging, and looking their best (like most of my readers) has been told to wear sunscreen.  The summer season is the time of year when more exposure to the sun is common.  It is especially important to understand how sunshine affects our skin, how to protect it, and avoid skin cancers, while still enjoying the great outdoors. Here are five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer.    

The Damage Caused by UV Rays

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage the DNA of skin cells.  This can permanently alter the appearance of the skin’s pigmentation and cause skin irregularities, wrinkles, and sags.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are three types of UV rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC.  While UVA rays are harmful and should be avoided, UVB rays are the most harmful.  They are more energetic than UVA rays, cause more sunburns, and can directly alter the DNA of skin cells. UVB rays are thought to cause most skin cancers.  UVC rays do not penetrate into our atmosphere and are not sunlight, so they are not cause for concern at this time.

Skin Cancer and Early Warning Signs

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer each day! Skin cancer is, by far, the most common form of cancer. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is cancer that starts in the cells that give skin color.  Therefore, it’s very important to pay attention to common moles on the skin.  If the color of the mole spreads outside the borders of the mole, that could be an early warning sign of trouble.  If you see this, make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.  If ignored, melanoma can spread from the skin into organs of the body and cause death.  I have friends that visit their dermatologist once a year to get checked, just as a precaution.    At Naturally…You we are all about precaution, prevention, and protection! 

Different Shades of Sun Screen

Woman applying sunscreen to her arm.

The best form of prevention and protection is to stay inside and avoid the sunshine.  I once worked with a woman who rarely when out in the sun.  She has exquisite skin and a nice shade of pale, but let’s face it, most of us spend time outdoors, at least some of the time.  For people like us, there is sunscreen.  Using sunscreen slows the aging of the skin and prevents sunburn. 

But not all sunscreens are created equally.  Most fall into two categories, physical blockers, and chemical blockers.  Physical blockers are made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These tend to be less irritating and block UV radiation across the UVA and UVB spectrum. This is knowns as the broad spectrum, and you may see those words on the product packaging. While effective, many physical sunscreens can leave your skin with a chalky white appearance.  Chemical blockers can have a narrow spectrum of UV coverage and carry a risk of contact allergy and irritation.  These blockers, however, can be formulated to blend into skin better, giving a more natural appearance to the ones wearing it.

When to use Sunscreen

Everyone should use sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy, you are going to be indoors all day, you plan to wear a big hat, or sit in the shade.  Everyday.  Period.

The SPF Mystery, Solved!

On every bottle or jar of sunscreen, you will see something called an SPF with a number next to it.  The SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number indicates the degree of protection it offers.  For example, an SPF of 15 means that it will take 15 times the UV exposure to cause a mild sunburn when compared to unprotected skin.  The higher the number, the greater the protection.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens that are SPF 30, broad-spectrum, and water-resistant (holds effectiveness for 40 minutes).  Apply it liberally over all exposed skin, and since sunscreens are often not waterproof, it’s a good idea to reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

Sun protection products, sunglasses and a towel on a table near a swimming pool.

The sun can damage your skin, and skin cancer affects millions of Americans each year.  These five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer give you the knowledge to stay healthy. Armed with the proper knowledge and the right sunscreen, you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, avoid harmful UV rays, and still look young and vibrant.  For more information on this or any health and wellness topic, visit naturallyyoufl.com.  There you can chat with me directly.  I’m always available to discuss your health concerns, so reach out on my site.  I look forward to chatting with you soon.

Five Podcasts to Help Build a Better Life

A young woman sitting at a desk, listening to a podcast on her mobile phone.

Building a better life is a goal for most people.  Fortunately, there are lots of resources to help people achieve this goal.  There are countless blogs, books, and seminars teaching people how to do just about anything.  At Naturally. . . You, we are always looking for ways to help our clients live happier, more fulfilled lives.  We find podcasts to be especially helpful.  First off, some podcasts specialize in every self-improvement topic imaginable.  Second, they vary in episode length, so you can find one that fits into your schedule.  Third, most offer actionable tips to help you overcome your challenge.  Often these podcasts have dedicated websites with free supplemental materials and resources. Additionally, they are free and accessible to everyone.  

Today we are presenting five podcasts to help you build a better life.   Each focuses on a specific topic, like happiness or meditation.  We describe the content and tell you why we like it.  Hopefully, you will like some of them too, and use them to build your better life.

For Meditation

The Daily Meditation Podcast.  This is a daily guided meditation helping you to be happier, more at peace, and sleep better.  Hosted by Mary Meckley, a certified meditation teacher, the Daily Meditation Podcast focuses on weekly themes based on a single emotion and provides daily meditation techniques to manage stress triggers. 

What we like about this—Staying focused through a meditation practice can be difficult. It’s easy to get distracted by the events of daily life.  Mary’s calming voice guides you through a meditation and keeps you on track.  These meditations are short, usually less than 10 minutes, so they are easy to fit into morning or evening routines. 

For Happiness

The Happiness Lab.  This is a weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University.  Many people think more money, a better job, or exotic vacations will make them happier.  That’s simply not true, according to research.  Each week The Happiness Lab takes you through the latest scientific research and shares some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness. 

What we like about this—This podcast focuses on the science behind happiness and skips the mindless platitudes.  Between the research described, interviews with authors, and actual stories, listeners realize that happiness is in their control.  It results from the choices they make every day, and listeners get tools that empower them to make better choices.  These podcasts usually run 30-60 minutes, the perfect size for a typical commute to the office.

For Confidence

A man on a city street looks confidently upward.  He just finished listening to one of the five podcasts to help build a better life.

The You Turn Podcast.  Many people are frustrated with the course of their lives.  But most are scared to make a change.  That’s where Ashley Stahl’s You Turn Podcast comes in, covering a wide range of topics, including personal relationships, career choices, and self-improvement.  Wisdom gained here can build the confidence needed to make a needed U-Turn on the road to happiness and fulfillment.

What we like about this—The diversity of topics means everyone can learn and grow from listening to this podcast.  Each episode lasts about an hour, which is enough time for an in-depth exploration of the topic.  In addition, it also gives enough time for questions and answers with the guests and tips on how to overcome obstacles. 

For Motivation

Optimal Daily Living. This aggregates the best personal development blogs on the internet.  Each day, Optimal Daily Living host Justin Malik reads an excerpt from a published blog on self-improvement.

What we like about this—Thousands of blogs publish every day, and finding and reading them all is impossible. This podcast does all that for you and then delivers a short snippet from that blog.  These are short podcasts, usually less than 10 minutes long, so they can be squeezed into busy schedules.  Plus, they offer food-for-thought on the subjects of motivation, success, and daily habits that can help you build the life you want.

For Sleep

A woman sleeping in a bed, surrounded by white clouds.

Sleepy.  Each week, host Otis Grey reads classic stories in a low, rhythmic tone to lull you to sleep.  Since the stories are classic, like Pinocchio and The Prince and the Pauper, you already know them and know how they end.  That means you can drift off anytime because you already know the ending. Plus, the familiarity of the story can be comforting, especially if you are stressed out and need to get to sleep.

What we like about thisSleepy is everything most people need to fall asleep.  It combines a comforting story, told in a soothing voice and a slow pace.  Each episode lasts around an hour, so there is plenty of time to drift off before it ends.  If you still have trouble sleeping, we suggest taking a CBD gummy ring just before you start the episode.  The Sleepy podcast and CBD are the stuff dreams are made of.

Help Along the Way

Everyone faces challenges in their lives, and most people need a little help to overcome them in healthy ways.  From specific challenges like trouble sleeping, to more general concerns like, “how can be happier,” these podcasts can be effective tools to help build a better life. Along with this blog, podcasts are a great way to feel less isolated by your obstacles, stories by others who have overcome similar challenges can inspire you, and you can learn tips to use on your journey to a better life. Helping you on your journey is what Naturally. . . You is all about.  These five podcasts will help you build a better life, but more importantly, a better life defined by you. 

For more podcast suggestions or help with finding the right CBD product for you, contact us at sharon@naturallyyoufl.com.  I’ll be happy to send a list of podcast options that can help you overcome your current challenge.         

Now is the Time to Indulge in Spring Vegetables

Spring fruits and vegetables including rainbow radishes nestled in a wicker basket.

Springtime is the season of renewal. The weather starts warming up and the flowers are blooming. Perhaps best of all is the abundance of fresh vegetables available.  Vegetables provide a wealth of nutrients that critically important to a healthy diet, one of the Six Keys to Optimal Health. Nutrition research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. They are normally fat-free, cholesterol-free and a great source of fiber, so now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables.

Why Eating in Season Matters

It’s true, you can often find fresh produce that is out of season. For instance, blueberries grow during summer months, but you can find them in stores all year long. That means they have either been stored for a long time or have been shipped in from a region of the world. Often that region is at the opposite end of the earth. Here is why both situations are not ideal.

  1. Vitamins and nutrients diminish over time, so the longer produce is stored, the less nutritious they are. According to the New York Times, “that many fruits and vegetables experience rapid losses in their nutritional value when stored for more than a few days.
  2. Preserving produce for a long time often requires chemicals to inhibit sprouting and a wax coating to seal in moisture.    
  3. Shipping creates pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, harming the environment.    

The best thing you can do to take advantage of seasonal vegetables is to buy from a local farmer’s market.  Not only will the produce taste better, but you will be consuming it at the peak of its freshness and nutritional value. Plus, you will be supporting local farmers and building better communities. 

Our Favorite Spring Vegetables:

Asparagus

Asparagus has potent diuretic properties which helps to regulate glandular disorders and kidney function. It is high in potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, which helps to prevent blood clotting. It’s typically green in color, but it can also be found in white. White asparagus hasn’t been exposed to sunlight.

Fresh artichokes on a white washed board.

Artichokes  

Like asparagus, artichokes also have diuretic properties and can be useful in treating water retention. Artichokes help to stabilize metabolism and lower both blood cholesterol and sugar. They contain as much as 10 grams of fiber each and since fiber helps you feel full, they can aid in weight control. Choose artichokes that feel firm and heavy, with bright green and sturdy leaves.

Arugula

This peppery lettuce tastes milder in the spring when the leaves are a lighter shade green.  Darker leaves indicate the arugula is older and stronger in taste.  Packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Calcium, Manganese, and Folate, arugula normalizes body acids and treats acidosis.

Broccoli

One serving of broccoli exceeds the recommended daily allowance of Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is especially important because it protects the body from damaging free radicals. Additionally, it’s high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol and promote a healthy digestive tract. Potassium found in broccoli supports the nervous system.

Carrots

This is one of the best dietary sources of beta carotene, which boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of many cancers. The abundance of vitamin A in carrots helps to improve your vision and improve skin tone. Plus, the lycopene in carrots is also good for your heart.

Be careful when buying baby carrots, if the label says “baby-cut” carrots, they are not really baby carrots. Baby-cut carrots are regular carrots, machine-cut to a small size, peeled, and polished.

Rainbow carrots bundled together and isolated on a white background. They are highly nutritious and one reason why now is the time to indulge in spring fruits and vegetables.
Carrots come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, and purple. But the most popular color is orange.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  A typical serving delivers 500% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, 175% of your Vitamin A, and 60% of your Vitamin C. Mustard greens strengthen the immune system, help with anemia, and build strong bones and teeth.

Radishes

Radishes have Vitamin C and are known to control damage to our red blood cells.  They also increase oxygen supply to the blood and cleanse the stomach, gallbladder, and liver. If that wasn’t enough, radishes contain RsAPF2, which is good for treating candida and can ease cold and flu symptoms.

Peas

Peas have a storehouse of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, B6, Magnesium, and iron. Peas contain an abundant amount of fiber, which has been shown to help the growth of good bacteria in the intestine and provide many benefits for digestive health.

The nutritional value is just one of the reasons why now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables.  For most of us, the main reason is taste.  Many are delicate in texture, nuanced in flavor, and can be prepared in so many ways.  It takes little culinary skill to make them the star of the dinner table. A simple salad with a light vinaigrette can provide the base for grilled seafood. Steamed spring vegetables dressed in butter or olive oil and sesame seeds can steal the show.  And a bowl of nothing but fresh peas and rice is comfort food at its finest.  For more information on diet, the other five keys to optimal health, and the most effective CBD products available, visit our website, naturallyyoufl.  There you can start a chat or find great resources to help guide your journey in health and wellness.