Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for February 16, 2014

Are You Alkaline or Acidic? Test Your Diet With This Quick Trick!

 

In my video Alkaline Diets, Animal Protein, and Calcium Loss I presented evidence challenging the notion that our body is buffering the acid formed from our diet with calcium from our bones. How then is our body neutralizing the acid? Maybe with our muscles! Our blood gets more acidic as we age and our kidney function declines, and this may be a reason we lose muscle mass as we get older. As a pair of researchers note: “The modern Western diet based on animal products generates an acid load that may cause a lifespan state of unnoticed and growing metabolic acidosis.” This chronic low-level diet-dependent metabolic acidosis might contribute to the progressive shrinking of our muscle mass as we age.

Muscle wasting appears to be an adaptive response to acidosis. When our muscles break down, amino acids are released into the bloodstream. Our liver can then take these amino acids and make something called glutamine, which our kidneys can use to get rid of excess acid. And indeed, in a three year study I profile in the above video, those over age 65 eating alkaline diets were better able to preserve their muscle mass, which the researchers think may be because the alkaline-producing fruits and vegetables helped relieve the mild acidosis that occurs with the ingestion of the standard American diet.

So what should we think about the latest review’s question, “Does an alkaline diet benefit health?” If the question is “Does a diet low in meat, eggs, and dairy—all acid-producing—and high in fruits and vegetables with lots of dark green leafies benefit health?” then of course the answer is yes, an alkaline diet benefits health. But if the question is “Does it matter what our “peeH” is (whether our urine is acid or alkaline) regardless of what actually goes into your mouth?” then the answer is… still yes, but the accepted benefits of having alkaline urine appear limited to two areas: lower risk of kidney stones and better uric acid clearance.

We’ve known about kidney stones and alkalinity for a while, but the uric acid data is new. Researchers havefound that alkalization of the urine is effective for removing uric acid from the body. If you remember from my video Flesh and Fructose, uric acid is bad stuff (potentially increasing one’s risk of fatal stroke, heart disease, and death), so clearing more from your system is a good thing.

Those eating plant-based diets appear then to have an advantage in this regard. The average vegetarian diet is alkaline producing, and the average meat-eating diet is acid producing. Even though there are some acid-forming meat-substitutes, like some of the Quorn products, they’re not as bad as something like tuna (see the chart in the above video), and they’re typically consumed in smaller quantities than meat consumers consume meat. Since the protein in plants is usually accompanied by much more potassium (which is alkalinizing), there is good reason to try to meet protein needs from plant sources. And when researchers actually measure urine pH, those eating strictly plant-based diets have the greatest advantage, with significantly more alkaline urine than omnivores.

How can we tell what our urine pH is? Well we can be all boring and order some pH paper strips to pee on. Or… we can use what everyone should have right now in their crisper, a purple cabbage. Everyone should have a red or purple cabbage in their fridge since it is not only one of the single best nutrition bangs for our buck, but we can also do science with it!

First, either boil some purple cabbage until the water turns deep purple or (a quicker and safer way since there’s no hot liquids) blend some raw with water in a blender and strain out the solids. Then what you can do with that royal purple liquid is pour it in the toilet bowl after you urinate. (You can imagine how much fun kids have with this!)

If it stays purple, your urine is acidic and you should eat more dark green leafy vegetables. If the toilet bowl turns pink, your urine is really acidic, so you should definitely eat more dark green leafy vegetables. We’re looking for blue. If it turns blue that means your urine is neutral or even basic. If it’s sky blue, you should… continue to eat more dark green leafy vegetables. Now I have a low-flow toilet, so there’s very little water in the bowel to start with. The effect might not be as dramatic if diluted in a larger quantity of water.

How else can we protect our muscles? We can eat healthy enough to avoid statin drugs (see Statin Muscle Toxicity) and the neurotoxins that can cause movement disorders (Muscle Tremors & Diet).

Superfood Bargains is the video in which purple cabbage takes the gold, though it was unseated in Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck.

Why do I always go on and on about dark green leafy vegetables? Check out my 58 videos on greens and find out! : )

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available atNutritionFacts.org.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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Why You Should Eat More Purple Fruits and Vegetables

Why You Should Eat More Purple Fruits and Vegetables

A

basked filled with luscious blue or dark red fruit and vegetables does much more than look good in still life paintings or on your kitchen counter. It contains a wealth of incredible health benefits.

The top benefactor in purple foods is their antioxidant content. The powerful health benefits of antioxidants are only too well known: they neutralize the agents of aging and disease, and keep you looking younger longer. Now consider this: According to the USDA , potatoes with the darkest colors have more than four times the antioxidant potential than other potatoes.  Remember: The darker the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it has.


Prunes, purple cabbage, eggplant, blackberries, black currants, purple onions, concord grapes: all of these have a natural purple pigment that contains flavonoids, including reservatrol, which keeps blood pressure in control and boosts immunity from certain cancers. The skin of a black grape, for example, has this pigment, called anthocyanin. In cranberries, the purple pigment is seen to benefit those suffering from infections of the urinary tract.

There is evidence that purple foods improve heart healthvision, and brain power. Recent studies found that adults who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight.

So, with so many wonderful reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables of the purple family, get more of them into your daily diet. And don’t stop at eggplant and berries. Exciting purple varieties of corn, asparagus, figs, potatoes and such are yours for the tasting and enjoying!

By Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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6 Surprising and Natural Stress Relievers

6 Surprising (& Natural) Stress Relievers

Everyone gets stressed sometimes. Whether it be financial or personal, significant stress is an unfortunate aspect of modern living. But, too much stress can be a bad thing. Whether you have trouble sleeping or find yourself becoming more irritable, stress takes a toll on our bodies. It is the leading cause of innumerable diseases, and can be single-handedly responsible for symptoms such as hair loss, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, drastic weight changes, ulcers, and more. So, next time you feel the need to pop a chill pill, try one of these more natural remedies instead.
Lavender. If you ever have trouble falling asleep at night, try spritzing some lavender essential oil into the nighttime air. Lavender helps calm anxiety and can soothe the mind and body to help you sleep more soundly. Intrigued? Aromatherapy has been shown to trigger various moods and sensations, and can be used to fight depression, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, indigestion, et cetera. Find a specialist near you to learn more.
Sweet Potato. What do you normally reach for when you’re stressed out? Probably sweets or salty carbs, I’d gamble. Next time, try some sweet potato instead. It will kill your cravings, satisfy your frenzied emotions, and help you digest more slowly due to their high fiber content. Plus, there will be no post-splurge guilt, as there would be if you ate a huge piece (or two) of cake. If you are really craving comfort food, try steamed and mashed sweet potatoes with a dash of coconut milk. Yum!
Chamomile. Chamomile tea has been shown to relax the body and muscles before sleep. Although chamomile’s benefits have not been medically proven, it has been used for centuries for its sedative qualities as well as an immune booster. Go ahead and brew up a pot of fresh tea to give your body a helping hand. Even better, add some raw honey into your tea (once it has cooled to drinking temperature to retain raw honey’s beneficial enzymes) for an additional boost.
Dark Chocolate. As if you need another reason to enjoy chocolate! A recent study has shown that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate lowers your body’s stress hormones and reduces anxiety. The stress hormone cortisol, in particular, can easily become imbalanced and lead to long term disease and disfunction. It is well known that too much cortisol can also lead to accumulated belly fat, so, in a way, a small piece of chocolate a day could help to keep the belly fat at bay! (OK, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but a girl can dream.) Also, your brain releases endorphins when you nibble chocolate, so it’s a double-whammy of happiness! Just be sure to enjoy in moderation.
St. John’s Wort. Useful if you’re feeling down-and-out, this herb has been shown to significantly increase mood and attitude in patients with mild depression. It has been used for centuries as a natural anti-depressant and is a fairly ubiquitous plant, often regarded as a weed. However, be sure to consult your doctor before adding any new herbs or regimens into your diet to avoid allergic reaction or misdiagnosis.
Peanut Butter. If you aren’t getting enough sleep and are feeling cranky, grab a spoonful of organic, unsweetened peanut butter. Being high in vitamin B6, it helps to regulate blood sugar, which stabilizes mood swings. And, of course, peanut butter is another great comfort food. Just don’t go out of control. If those 6 remedies aren’t enough for you, some other excellent ideas are practicing yoga or meditation, regular exercise, enjoying a hot bath, or even writing in a personal journal. Relieving yourself of stress will make your life a lot healthier and more enjoyable. If you are stressed out and are reaching for the tub of cookie dough ice cream, try one of the 6 aforementioned edibles instead. Take time for yourself, let your mind relax, and enjoy a bit of this crazy ride we call life.
By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life! Live Well! Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

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