Posts by Dr. Igor Schwartzman

Anti-inflammatory Foods for Weight Loss and Hormone Balance

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Anti-inflammatory Foods for Weight Loss and Hormone Balance

Counting calories, avoiding fats, eating small portions, living with hunger—dieting is a drag and the majority of people eventually gain back the pounds they fought so hard to lose.  Diet is limiting and restrictive. Consider nutrition.  The word ‘nutrition’ comes from Latin, which is ‘to nourish’. The goal of nutrition is to emphasize and maximize the amount of nutrients that your body needs for optimal health, hormone balance, and sustenance. Dieting can slow down the metabolism and affect hormones that control appetite. This may cause you to become hungrier, and lead to an unhealthy and a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. You’ll have better success if you eat with a focus on meeting your nutritional needs. Proper nutrition and avoidance of the ‘inflammatory’ foods can help reduce constant pain, digestive complaints, skin rashes, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalances, and other chronic health issues. You may be surprised to find that not only do those symptoms reduce but you may also lose those unwanted pounds. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may cut out many of your favorites, but it does not require you to be hungry. In fact, hunger can work against you by causing low blood sugar. Basics of nutrition and anti-inflammatory foods  Eliminate the following, since they are designed to be addictive all processed foods fast foods sweets and desserts (helps to curb cravings and stabilize blood sugars) coffee drinks sodas Eliminate processed vegetable and hydrogenated oils Eliminate gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other gluten-containing grains You may have other food sensitivities and/or intolerances. Eliminate these foods for about 3 months and observe your reactions upon reintroducing them one at a time (every 3-4 days) dairy eggs soy nightshades nuts In some instances you may need to follow a stricter version of this diet, and eliminate grains, or foods with lectins Increase whole foods found in the produce and meat sections of the grocery store, with an emphasis on vegetables and leafy greens Increase healthy fats, including coconut, olive, or hemp seed oils, and avocados Get enough sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep promotes hunger, stress, and inflammation and is linked with obesity Get regular physical activity, not to burn calories but because it is vital to good health. Overtraining, however, can be counterproductive to your weight loss efforts or good...

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Seven Reasons of Why You May Be Tired

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Seven Reasons of Why You May Be Tired

Feel tired all the time? Having a hard time waking up in the mornings? Do you need a jolt of caffeine to get going? You may be experiencing “adrenal fatigue”, an issue where your body has difficulty meeting the demands of everyday stress, or life. Signs and symptoms of “adrenal fatigue” may include Persistent fatigue Headaches with stress, or regularly come on in the afternoons Frequent colds and flus; weakened immune system Allergies Slow to get going in the morning Craving sweets and stimulants Feeling lightheaded, shaky, or irritable between meals Eating to relieve fatigue Difficulty sleeping; or frequent wakings in the middle of the night Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing Low blood pressure Other Let’s look at a few possible reasons for your adrenal gland involvement. 1. Eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates. When you eat sweets or starchy foods it causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to rise and then drop quickly. In response, your adrenal glands release the stress hormone (cortisol) to help those levels stay balanced. Repeated rises and falls of your blood sugar levels directly impact your adrenals. As a result of this exhaustive cycle, you may reach the state of“adrenal fatigue”, where you now suffer from perpetual low blood sugars, or reactive hypoglycemia. Aim for a lower glycemic, whole foods diet that does not spike your blood sugar, as well as healthy fats, protein, and plenty of fiber. 2. Using caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, energy drinks, cigarettes, diet pills, and other stimulants cause extra release of stress hormones and can further exacerbate the adrenal glands. 3. Overtraining. Exercise is vital to good health, yet over-exercising can aggravate the body, and taxing the adrenal glands. If your performance during workouts is suffering and you feel tired afterwards, you may actually be overdoing it, or exercising at the wrong time of the day for your body, this can further aggravate the health of your adrenal glands. 4. Food intolerances. Eating foods that trigger an immune reaction also has the capacity to tax adrenal function. One of the more common food intolerances is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and a few other type of grains. Dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and yeast are a few other common foods that can lead to inflammatory processes and impact your adrenal glands. Doing an elimination/provocation diet can be very helpful. In some instances, certain lab tests can also be useful in helping you decipher which foods you are sensitive to and should avoid. 5. Gut infections. It is not uncommon for many people to have gastrointestinal infections that include overgrowth of yeast, fungus, and/or bacteria. Many people may have these infections for years and not know about them. These chronic infections, however, can lead to chronic inflammation in the gut and the body, which leads to increased stress on the body and can further impact your adrenals. 6. Unmanaged autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity is when your immune system attacks your own body. For example, when the immune system attacks your thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism), the pancreas (Type I diabetes), or the nervous system (multiple sclerosis).  Unmanaged autoimmune disease keeps the immune system on at all times, and this overactive state causes chronic inflammation. This perpetual inflammatory process leads to an increased stress on the body and its tissues, which can further aggravate the adrenal gland involvement . 7. Brain inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body from poor diet, chronic stress, or autoimmune disease can also inflame the brain. Common symptoms of brain inflammation include brain fog, low brain endurance, poor memory, or slowed mental acuity. Contact us to learn...

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Protect Your Brain from Inflammation

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Protect Your Brain from Inflammation

The brain is an extremely malleable organ that is constantly being influenced by our environment, diet, experiences, thoughts, and emotions. What makes the brain vulnerable is the process of inflammation.   This is because the inflammation in the brain slows down communication between neurons. Inflammation in a knee, ankle, or elsewhere in the body typically results in pain. An inflamed brain, however, does not necessarily hurt. Instead, a common symptom of brain inflammation is brain fog, and people complaining that their thinking feels slow and disconnected. Other symptoms of brain inflammation may include memory loss, depression, anxiety, and other types of neurological disorders. Brain inflammation The factors that cause brain inflammation are often the same factors that cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, and stem primarily from poor diet and lifestyle choices. If you have any digestive disorders—stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, gas, bloating, multiple food sensitivities—you may be at risk of brain inflammation. The following are some of the common factors: Food intolerances, particularly to gluten. The brain has been found to be the tissue most often affected by a gluten sensitivity. A diet high in sugar Blood sugar imbalances (low blood sugar, high blood sugar, or diabetes) Leaky gut (a damaged gut wall that allows undigested food, bacteria, and other pathogens into the bloodstream) Unmanaged autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism Chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body Hormone imbalances. Estrogen deficiency in a woman can exacerbate brain inflammation. While progesterone has been shown to be very therapeutic after a brain injury. Poor blood flow and oxygenation. Factors that can reduce oxygenation of the brain include anemia, smoking, poor circulation, blood sugar imbalances, chronic stress, and high or low blood pressure. Supporting brain health The factors that support brain health are the same factors that support your body’s health: whole foods diet rich in antioxidants essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fats sufficient vitamin D regular physical activity and adequate sleep healthy social activity stress management and healthy lifestyle choices Contact us to learn how we can help improve your brain health, reduce inflammation, and support your health...

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Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

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Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

Modern life delivers constant assaults on our bodies in the way of industrialized and processed foods, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and even electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones, computers, and power plants. These and many other assaults can trigger autoimmune reactions in the body. These reactions can lead to developing autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s, or hormone disruptions in the body that lead to infertility. Our best defense to protect health and repair damage is to shore up glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier. Although the body naturally makes and recycles glutathione, modern life can overwhelm this system, depleting us of this vital compound. Glutathione as an oral supplement is not well absorbed by the digestive tract, but is well-obtained intravenously. However, most people are not able to dedicate enough time to receive regular intravenous drips of glutathione. Fortunately, many nutritional compounds act as building blocks to glutathione, and can help raise and maintain its levels inside and outside of cells. Optimize glutathione levels in the body The following nutritional compounds have been shown to boost glutathione levels that can help manage autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility: N-acetyl-cysteine is a precursor molecule to glutathione, and is a bioavailable building block. Alpha lipoic acid helps recycle glutathione already found in the cells. Milk thistle helps boost glutathione levels. Methylation nutrients–methyl folate (5-MTHF), methyl B6 (P5P) and methyl B12 (methylcobalmin)–are methyl forms of B vitamins can help boost glutathione production and recycling. Selenium helps with the production and recycling of glutathione in the body. Vitamin C helps to increase glutathione levels. Diet and lifestyle also affect glutathione levels. Sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress can help boost glutathione. Exercise also boosts glutathione; aerobic exercise daily and strength-training two to three times per week. Preserve glutathione levels in the body One of the most important ways to maintain your glutathione levels is to reduce stress on your body. Glutathione’s job is to protect the cells, whether it’s from an autoimmune disease, sleep deprivation, or the toxic ingredients in scented detergents and fabric softeners. Healthy glutathione levels reduce your risk of developing chronic and autoimmune disease as well as food and chemical sensitivities. It is also helps better manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility. Use the following techniques to preserve your glutathione: Find out what your food intolerances are and remove those foods from your diet. An elimination diet or a lab test can help you determine which foods stress your immune system. Eat a whole foods diet. Processed foods and fast foods contain chemicals, additives, genetically altered foods, antibiotics, hormone disruptors, excess sugar, and many other ingredients that are harmful to the body. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is very stressful. If you have sleep issues, it may be secondary to something else. Contact us to find out what may be contributing to your poor sleep. Avoid common environmental chemicals. These are found in shampoos, body products, household cleaners, lawn care products, and so on. Minimize your exposure to EMFs, which are a source of “electrical pollution”. Cell phones, computers, WiFi, and other electronics. These are harmful to the body’s natural defenses (ie immune system), as well as responsible for hormone disruptions (ie...

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Eat Your Breakfast: Prevent Weight Gain and Hormone Imbalance

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Eat Your Breakfast: Prevent Weight Gain and Hormone Imbalance

Breakfast is the easiest meal to skip—mornings are rushed and many people don’t have an appetite when they wake up. Some people even feel nausea in the morning, which suggests a possible blood sugar dysregulation. If you skip breakfast you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, increasing your risk of weight gain, blood sugar disorders, hormone imbalances, and robbing your brain of energy. Skipped breakfast leads to weight gain and hormone imbalance Breakfast is the first meal after a long night of fasting. In the absence of food, the body must release stored glucose to fuel the brain or create glucose by breaking down muscle tissue. This process is made possible by by the stress hormone, cortisol. Skipping breakfast when your brain and body are starved for energy exaggerates this stress response, forcing the body to continually pump out cortisol to fuel the brain. This persistent increase of nighttime cortisol is what causes some people to wake up and experience nausea. Although it seems counter-intuitive, eating can actually relieve that morning nausea by inhibiting the stress response. The habitual stress response caused by skipping breakfast and other meals can promote weight gain, cause hormone imbalance, increase inflammation in the body, and decrease brain function. It can also lead to symptoms such as migraines, depression, mood swings, shakiness, lightheadedness, brain fog, and sleep disorders. Eating meals high in sugar and carbohydrates also contributes to this problem by causing energy to continually spike and crash throughout the day. Eating breakfast regularly is an important strategy when it comes to preventing weight gain and fatigue. 
Skipping breakfast leads to overeating and poor food choices Skipping breakfast can increase your chances of overindulging or making poor food choices later in the day. When your energy is crashing and your brain is starving for fuel. A well-fueled brain is better equipped to make healthier choices and not succumb to a mad grab for the nearest source of quick energy (like sugar, or something processed). A recent study showed that those who skipped breakfast were more likely to seek out high-calorie junk foods and that dieters who skip meals are more prone to gain weight over the long run. Their brain scans showed skipping meals stimulated the brain in a way that made high-calorie foods seem more appealing. Those who skipped breakfast also ate about 20 percent more at lunch. What to eat for breakfast Breakfast should emphasize healthy proteins and fat (avoid sugary, starchy breakfasts) to start the day on an even keel and maximize brain function. Eat frequently enough to avoid blood sugar crashes, and include protein, healthy fat, and fiber (vegetables) with every meal to sustain energy and prevent fatigue throughout the day. At our Portland natural health clinic we can help and support you and your health goals. Contact us with all of your questions and to schedule an...

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