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The Sour Truth on the Side Effects of Eating Sugar

A spoonful of sugar isolated on a white background.

Americans love the taste of sugar.  Not only does sugar occur naturally in many foods, but added sugars can be found in the majority of processed foods we regularly eat.  Sugar consumption has been steadily rising in America for decades, and now the average American eats far more sugar, every day than is recommended by healthcare professionals. There is a price paid for all that sweetness.  In this article, learn about sugar consumption trends in America, why eating sugar is bad for you, the three major types of sugar we consume, and if eating sugar can be addictive. So put down that can of soda and read on.

Americans Love Sugar

A stack on doughnut isolated on white background.

Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. By 1970, that number rose to 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year.  This averages out to 6 cups of sugar per week. We eat so much sugar that the US consumes more sugar per capita than any other country on earth. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  

Americans consume far more sugar than is recommended.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, nutritionists suggest that Americans should get only 10% of their calories from sugar. This equals 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day (based on 2,000 calories per day).  We currently consume around 42 teaspoons per day.  That’s over 3X the recommended daily consumption. 

Is this a bad thing?

Yes!  Added sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars, in processed foods are a primary driver of obesity.  Additionally, they have direct metabolic effects that raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart and liver diseases. Plus, all that sugar contributes to dental disease which, left untreated, can cause gum disease which can result in heart disease.

According to Healthy Food America, people who consume 12–30 teaspoons per day, compared to those who consume less than 12 teaspoons of sugar, increase their risk of dying from heart disease by nearly one-third. Eating more than 30 teaspoons of sugar a day increases the risk nearly three-fold.    

The Story of Three Sugars 

Sugar is a broad term that includes naturally occurring sweet substances.  The most common sugars are Sucrose, Lactose, and Fructose.  Each type of sugar comes from different sources and affects the body in different ways. 

Type of SugarSourceInsulin RequirementAffects on Blood Sugar
SucroseSugar Cane/Sugar BeetsYesHighest
LactoseDairy ProductsYesHigh
FructoseFruits/Vegetables/HoneyNoLowest
Source: Difference Between

Sucrose is table sugar and is the most commonly added sugar. It spikes insulin levels in the bloodstream and over time can lead to Type II diabetes. Lactose is found in all dairy products. It creates elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream. Fructose has the sweetest taste, does not need insulin to be processed, and has the lowest effect on blood sugar.

Sugar Addiction

Sugar cubes support tiles that spell out the word addict.

Sugar consumption can create a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. People often enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. It helps people power through business meetings, students pull all-night study sessions and get through an afternoon of errands and kid pick up.  But as reported by New Hall Hospital, studies suggest sugar is as addictive as cocaine! And due to the addictive nature of sugar, long-term health risks from obesity and diabetes are especially troubling. 

Just about everyone we know enjoys the taste of sugar.  Unfortunately, it is an addictive substance that can cause long-term health problems for those who eat too much of it. In our next article, we will explore popular foods that contain hidden sugar and healthy alternatives.  Plus, we will present the pros and cons of sugar substitutes, and tips to reduce your sugar consumption. Naturally You is committed to your health and wellness.  Visit our website to learn more about diet and six keys to optimal health, as well as our complete line of full-spectrum CBD products.  Plus we offer a live chat feature and are always happy to discuss any natural health and healing topic.  We look forward to chatting with you soon, naturally.

4 Good Reasons to Drink Green Tea

A cup of green tea on a wooden board with a spoon and scattered green tea leaves.

America is a land of coffee drinkers.  In fact, Americans have consistently consumed more coffee than tea since we were just 13 colonies.  While it’s true coffee has a more robust flavor and caffeine than tea, adding a cup of green tea to your morning routine can pay off in many ways.  Green tea contains antioxidants and plant compounds known to boost health and wellness. Studies suggest green tea helps with weight loss, can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, and may even help prevent cancer.  Keep reading and discover four reasons to drink green tea, plus the way to create the perfect cup.   

1. Help Prevent Some Forms of Cancer

Research has shown that oxidative damage can lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in chronic diseases, including cancers. Antioxidants found in green tea can help protect against oxidative damage.  Furthermore, Medical News Today published an article showing research has linked green tea compounds with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including prostate and colorectal cancer.

2. Drink Green Tea to Help with Weight Loss

A cup of green tea and a measuring tape symbolizes one of four reasons to drink green tea.

According to Healthline, green tea contains an antioxidant known to raise metabolic rates in humans. When your metabolism accelerates, you burn more calories.  And the more calories you burn, the easier it is to lose weight.  The results of a 12-week controlled study involving 240 people with obesity showed those in the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and belly fat compared with those in the control group.

3. Protects Neurons to Keep Dementia at Bay

Green tea not only improves brain function in the short term, but it may also protect your brain as you age.  Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease are two common neurodegenerative diseases that affect the quality of life in senior citizens.  Several studies show antioxidant compounds in green tea can have protective effects on neurons. 

4. Green Tea May Help You Live Longer

While longevity studies don’t link green tea consumption to longer life spans, compounds found in green tea reduce the risk for several life-threatening conditions. In a recent study, researchers studied 40,530 Japanese adults over 11 years. Those who drank 5 or more cups per day were significantly less likely to die during the study period :

Cause of DeathWomenMen
All Causes23% Lower12% Lower
Heart Disease31% Lower22% Lower
Stroke42% Lower35% Lower
Source: 56 Trusted Source

Green Tea Extract Gives Concentrated Benefits

Some people dislike the sometimes bitter taste of green tea, but they still want the benefits that come from it.  Green tea extract can be an effective alternative.  Green tea extract is a supplement derived from the green tea plant. It contains concentrated compounds of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and flavonoids of green tea.  It’s available in capsules, liquid, or powder and a recommended dose is 250 to 500mg per day.  Taking the extract supplement with food is also recommended.  Green tea extract has all the benefits of green tea discussed above, plus benefits like:

  • Decreased total cholesterol and LDL
  • Reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Helps improve skin tone and elasticity
  • Improves liver function by lowering liver enzyme levels and liver fat content and inflammation
  • Benefits exercise performance and recovery

Green Tea extract is easy to add to your diet but keep in mind that, like any supplement, the extract is not the purest form of the product.  There is a risk of adulteration in the manufacturing process.  There are no uniform standards for supplement labeling so consumers can never be sure if they getting green tea extract in its purest form.  For more on supplements and FDA oversight, read our recent blog How to Determine if a Supplement is Right for You.

How to Brew the Perfect Cup

The act of brewing the perfect cup of green tea can help reduce stress.  We recommend making a ritual out of it.  Over time, you will find the ritual has a calming effect that will have health benefits of its own.  The ideal water temperature is 160-170 degrees. Boiling water can dissolve tannins and destroy the compounds that contribute to overall good health.  Additionally, boiling water can burn tea leaves resulting in a bitter taste. 

According to researchers at Purdue University, drinking green tea with lemon improves the health benefits of the tea.  Citrus juice brings out green tea’s natural antioxidants, making them more available for your body to absorb.  Steep time is 2-3 minutes, no more.  Longer steeping will result in a bitter taste and a tea that leaves more stains on your cups and teeth.

Naturally. . .You and Green Tea

Green Tea Herbal Cleanser from Naturally You.

Drinking green tea certainly has its benefits, from the relaxing ritual of brewing the perfect cup to helping the prevention of serious health issues.  Here we presented 4 good reasons to drink green tea and the team at Naturally. . .You hope you find ways to incorporating green tea into your diet and supplement regimen.  You can start looking younger now by using the Green Tea Herbal Cleanser from M’Lis. It is a safe and effective face wash and packed with antioxidants that tighten and leave your skin glowing.  If you are interested in trying it, give us a call.  We are happy to discuss your skincare needs, as well as anything you need to live your life in health and abundance, naturally.

The Brave New World of CBD

There is a brave new world of CBD as the industry continues to evolve.  Advancements in technology and manufacturing, along with the discovery of new cannabinoids, resulting in better products.  And better products help treat more conditions without side-effect riddled prescription drugs.  So if you are searching for pain relief, a better night’s sleep, or less anxiety, keep reading.  You will learn how CBD, Delta 8, and rising industry standards could hold the key to unlocking a future of feeling great and being more active.   

Cannabinoids and Full Spectrum Products

There are over 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis plants like hemp.  CBD is the alpha cannabinoid, making up 40% of the plant, and supports a healthy immune system in humans.  But other cannabinoids provide additional health benefits and contribute to better overall health and wellness.  For example, the following three cannabinoids offer unique properties for specialized treatment.

  1. CBC (cannabichromene) helps with pain relief in the gastrointestinal tract.  It also has an antidepressant effect.
  2. CBG (cannabigerol) helps with joint pain, muscle tension, and anxiety
  3. CBN (cannabinol) promotes sleep and bone growth.

These cannabinoids are found only in full-spectrum CBD products. Therefore, it’s important to buy full-spectrum products. 

Delta 8 Products 

People suffering from pain, insomnia, and anxiety can get relief from a powerful new cannabinoid called Delta 8.  This is great news for people who are have tried other CBD products and didn’t get the results they want. It contains very small amounts of THC, the same ingredient found in psychoactive products like marijuana. But, the amount is below the legal limit. Therefore, it’s legal to possess and consume it under federal law. 

The Delta 8 Cannabinoid and THC

Delta 8 is similar to, but NOT the same as Delta 9 THC. Delta 8 contains far fewer psychoactive properties than Delta 9 THC. Addtionally, Delta 8 makes up less than one percent of the cannabinoids found in cannabis products like hemp. On the other hand, Delta 9 THC is abundant in marijuana.  Delta 8 must be harvested and processed to distill it into an isolate. The less potent Delta 8 is also more stable than Delta 9 THC. Therefore can be used to treat a wider range of patients who don’t want the feelings of high side effects.   

How does it compare to CBD

Delta 8 is a newly discovered cannabinoid and has not been studied as much as CBD. While Delta 8 is like a sister of Delta 9 THC, it’s more like a distant cousin of CBD.  CBD does not contain psychoactive properties and is widely used to treat a variety of health issues.  Delta 8 and CBD interact differently with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.    

New Technology Developments

In addition to new products, several technology developments are ushering in this brave new world of CBD. These new technology developments are responsible for quality control in the CBD industry.  Many CBD producers now use software to track every step of the production process. This gives them the unprecedented capability to spot problems during the extraction and manufacturing process quickly. As a result, consistently higher quality products can be enjoyed by more consumers. 

Speaking of the extraction process, a safer and more efficient way of extracting cannabinoids from the plant is now available. It’s called the Supercritical CO2 Extraction method. According to techdayhq.com, it is considered the gold standard for CBD extraction.  Not only is the method more environmentally friendly, but studies have shown it to increase bioavailability in some cases.

Saved by the Bee

Phytopharma International, an Israeli cannabis company, recently announced it successfully created cannabis-infused honey made solely by bees.  When they introduced hemp into the bees’ diet, their bodies naturally extracted cannabinoids. The bees naturally infused them into the honey produced by the hive.  The honey is highly bioavailable and produces positive medical effects.  Test subjects experienced pain relief from fibromyalgia and reduced PTSD-induced insomnia.

The CBD industry continues to evolve.  This brave new world of CBD includes advancements in technology resulting in higher quality products. At the same time, scientists are discovering new cannabinoids. These new cannabinoids can provide better treatments for those suffering from a host of conditions like chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety. It’s an exciting time, and Naturally. . .You is excited to be part of it. We’ve added Delta 8 products to our line of high-quality, full-spectrum CBD products.  That means more options to help you feel your best, naturally.

Why Eliminating Nightshades Can Help You Feel Great

Why Eliminating Nightshades Can Help You Feel Great
French fries, an example of nightshade vegetables, are arranged across a white background.

You may not have heard the term “nightshade vegetables,” but chances are, you eat at least some of them. Potatoes and tomatoes are some of the nightshade vegetables. And many people point to them as a cause for health issues involving the digestive system and autoimmune diseases. Nightshades get their name because they prefer shade to sunshine and often flower at night. About 50 species of nightshade plants can be found in North America and widely consumed. That’s because they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and are safe to eat under ordinary circumstances. But for those with nightshade sensitivity, nightshades can cause serious problems.  Keep reading to learn why eliminating nightshades can help you feel great.

Popular Nightshade Vegetables

According to grassfedsalsa.com, popular nightshades include:

  • White, gold, and yellow potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chili Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Goji Berries
  • Tomatillos
Heirloom tomatoes, an example of nightshade vegetables, displayed in a basket.

Why they can be Harmful

Nightshade vegetables contain trace amounts of a natural insect repellant called glycoalkaloid. Glycoalkaloids are a family of chemical compounds derived from alkaloids found within each plant.  These alkaloids can be harmful to humans if consumed in heavy concentrations. Also, they can have a certain drug-like effect on people. The most known alkaloids are caffeine, nicotine, and morphine. They can damage your cell membranes and take your body a long time to process, more than a day in some cases.  So, if you are eating nightshades daily, you could end up accumulating a lot of this natural toxin.

Health Issues

A direct link between nightshade consumption and health issues has not been proven. But we know our immune system can’t target the alkaloid found in nightshades. Therefore, it cannot prevent it from causing various health issues. As a result, they can contribute to inflammation, digestive problems, confusion, dry mouth, and visual disturbances. Additionally, they can aggravate autoimmune diseases such as osteoarthritis, Graves disease, lupus, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and others. According to Healthline, many people with autoimmune diseases eliminate nightshades from their diets, believing they contribute to their health problems.

How to test for Nightshade Sensitivity

A woman writing in a journal while sitting next to a window and enjoying a cup of coffee.

Nightshade vegetables and spices do not affect everyone. But if you consume nightshades and suffer from any gastrointestinal dysfunction or an autoimmune disease, it’s a good idea to test for sensitivity. During the test, keep a daily journal.  Write down how you feel being mindful changes to your condition. First, remove all nightshade vegetables from your diet. Do this for a minimum of 30 days. Then re-introduce them, one at a time. For instance, start with the tomato.  First, eat it raw every day for two or three days. They eat it cooked for a few days. Then move on to the next nightshade.  Once you’ve gone through all of them, look back through your journal to determine how sensitive you are to nightshades.

Nightshade Replacement Options

Nightshade VegetableNon-Nightshade Replacement Option
TomatoesStrawberries, Pumpkin, or Squash
EggplantPortobello Mushrooms
Chili or Cayenne PepperBlack or White Pepper with Cumin or Turmeric
Bell PeppersCelery or Cucumber

While the scientific community is still trying to understand the relationship between nightshade vegetables and health issues. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it. Naturally. . . You supports the natural approach to healthy living.  We believe food can be used as medicine to heal the body. Plus, it can be done without the side effects of synthetic treatments like prescription medications.  If you eat nightshade vegetables and suffer from a digestive or an autoimmune disease, we encourage you to try our elimination diet recommendation. You might find that eliminating nightshades can help you feel great. And even more important, how certain foods can actually make you feel better. 

For more information on diet, and the six keys to optimal health, check out our website.  While you are there, you can also find our complete line of full-spectrum CBD products. And you can chat with us on more ways to feel great. . . naturally.

Lessons from Our Year of Covid-19

It’s hard to believe, but next month marks the first anniversary of the day the US government declared a national Covid-19 emergency.  In the weeks that followed, states issued stay-at-home orders, and the country shut down.  By the end of March, life had changed, in some way, for almost everyone. Life may never go back to what it was before Covid but instead of dwelling about things we’ve lost, focus on lessons learned and positive changes that can help us live better lives.  Here are five lessons I’ve learned from our year of Covid-19 and how they have positively changed my life.

Lesson #1—Change is Inevitable.  We Will Adapt.

The year 2020 was canceled.  Trips, events, parties, and almost everything social were canceled while we sheltered in place. People had to adapt to working at home, school at home, and fitness at home. Even after states reopened, many of us were unwilling to travel and socialize.  We wore our masks, were socially distant, and isolated ourselves from friends and family.  Changes in our behavior were required to slow the spread of the virus.  But through it all, we found ways to adapt and still participate in things important to us.  Neighbors gathered in their driveways on Fridays to celebrate happy hour.  They sat on lawn chairs and toasted each other with glasses of wine and beer.  Couples got married, and we attended via Zoom.  We couldn’t be there in person, but we found ways to witness weddings, birthdays, and graduations. 

The Covid experience proves our resilience. The confidence we gained from facing change and adapting to it makes us stronger and better able to face future challenges.  It’s something we should be proud of.

Lesson #2—Everything We Need, We Already Have.

Before 2020 most people were rushing around chasing things on their “Have to Have” lists.  If it was new and improved, in style, or better than the rest, we had to have it.  We worked ourselves sick if necessary, but if we wanted it, we had to have it, and we would do what it took to get it.  Suddenly everything stopped. Our “have to have” lists changed.  Instead of the latest designer handbag or hairstyle, a big supply of toilet paper is what we had to have. People hoarded basic supplies, fought over the last few packages of chicken at the supermarket, and some bought yeast and flour for the first time.  Once we realized that basic supplies were not going to run out, we settled into a simpler life, and everything was okay.

Most of us have everything we need to live comfortably, and the Covid experience has taught us that while we might not have everything we want, everything we need, we already have. This is one of the important lessons from our Year of Covid-19. And when you learn that, you have found freedom.

Lesson #3—Boredom Can Be Good  

Young woman daydreaming while sitting on her could.
Daydreaming can stimulate creativity!

Back in the 1940s, our fathers and grandfathers were asked to go to war for this country.  We’ve been asked to stay at home.  Most of us did and soon realized that there are just so many hours of bad television we can stand to watch.  We read books, did living room yoga, tried to bake sourdough bread, and still got bored. Boredom can be a good thing.  Boredom allows us to daydream, come up with new ideas, and create plans for the future.  Before Covid, most of us were busy filling every second of our lives. We were never bored, but often in a rut.  Many of us realized that with a little boredom we have more possibilities than ever.

Covid has taught us to slow down and accept a little boredom.  If we planned more downtime, got bored a little more often, imagine the innovations that would result and how much better life could get!

Lesson #4—Be Grateful for the Little Things

When the world gets smaller, little things matter more. People are grateful for some of the smallest gestures.  Pre-Covid, these same small gestures could have been overlooked or taken for granted.  Not now. Neighbors going to the supermarket call neighbors with offers to pick up groceries. Sharing extra baked goods or soup is something we can do for others. Not only does it make them feel grateful, but you will feel good too. It’s not about what you share, but the act of sharing something will give you a sense of purpose and community.  Gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to boost your spirits and well-being.

Keeping a gratitude journal can help remind you of all the little things you are grateful for every day.  Covid has taken so much away. Practicing gratitude and keeping a journal gives so much back. It will bring greater health and happiness no matter what challenges we face in the future.

Lesson #5—Take Care of Yourself 

Couple powerwalking and staying fit is a lession learned from our year of Covid-19.
Power walking is a low-impact way to get fit.

Covid-19 is a killer.  It’s especially deadly in those with pre-existing health conditions.  According to the CDC, 94% of all Covid deaths occurred in individuals with pre-existing health conditions.  The most common ones were diabetes and obesity.  So the message is clear, taking care of yourself, maintaining a healthy weight level, and focusing on metabolic health are key to survival.  And it goes far beyond survival.  Staying healthy and active are keys to a longer life with more opportunities for fulfilling experiences, stronger relationships, and greater happiness.

Taking care of yourself is the great lesson learned from Covid.  This pandemic made bad situations worse, so now is the time to concentrate on being fit and healthy.  If new challenges come your way, you’ll be better prepared to overcome them.  If not, you’ll be able to enjoy all the good things life has to offer.

We hope these lessons for our year of Covid-19 help you create a positive and healthier future. The team at Naturally. . . You is here to help you on your health and wellness journey.  We offer a variety of services like weight management and detoxification programs, as well as a complete line of full-spectrum CBD products to help you manage pain and stress.  For more information visit our website.  There you can learn about the six keys to optimal health and ways to feel better. . . naturally.

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!