Weight Loss Natural Health Charlotte

Move it!

Physical activity is essential to health.

Did you know that there are approximately 206 bones, 639 skeletal muscles and 360 joints in the human body? These all have one major function. Movement! Frequent exercise is a necessary ingredient for your body to function well. Exercise is just as important as sleep, food and water. Without adequate exercise the body will not function well. The result may be pain, chronic diseases or even loss of mobility.

Here are a few key things that physical exercise can help with.

Control Your Weight

Both diet and physical activity play a critical role in controlling your weight. You gain weight when the calories you burn, including those burned during physical activity, are less than the calories you eat or drink. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. But following the guidelines and getting at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate- intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for these diseases. You can reduce your risk even further with more physical activity. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.

Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which you have some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. Research shows that lower rates of these conditions are seen with 120 to 150 minutes (2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of at least moderate- intensity aerobic activity. And the more physical activity you do, the lower your risk will be. Already have type 2 diabetes? Regular physical activity can help control your blood glucose levels.

Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers

Being physically active lowers your risk for two types of cancer: colon and breast. Research shows that: Physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer than do people who are not active. Physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than do people who are not active.

Improve Your Mental Health and Mood

Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can help give you these mental health benefits.

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Food is the Basis of Health

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This famous quote by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, rings even more true today than when he said it did back in 400 B.C.

Hippocrates was a physician who made a living by going door to door to see bed-ridden patients in their homes. His first hand observations of the effects of diet and lifestyle on overall health led him to create the philosophical foundation upon which modern medicine was founded. In fact, physicians since those times have taken the Hippocratic Oath through which they promise to uphold these basic principles of preserving health without causing any harm to the patient.

Lifestyles and medicine have changed a lot since the time of Hippocrates. In fact, modern medicine has never been further away from nature. In order for a medication to be patented and prescribed for the treatment of disease it legally cannot be natural because there cannot be a patent on a naturally occurring thing. So now as a result, we are far removed from the very foundation on which modern medicine was built. Drugs are commonly prescribed over food and lifestyle modifications. In fact, for many physicians and medical researchers, food has no therapeutic value beyond providing calories for energy. The blatant disconnect between nutrition and health is so severe in medicine nowadays, that many physicians don’t even ask their patients about their daily food intake before treating them.

What hasn’t changed, over the past 2500 years is our basic anatomy and physiology. Our bodies are still made of the same organs and systems and cells. Each cell still has the same nutritional needs today as it did in the days of Hippocrates. The cell is the most basic level of life and our bodies are made of millions of them. Each cell is like a tiny biochemical machine that performs different jobs depending on where it is located in the body. It takes raw materials from the food we eat and uses them to may hormones, brain chemicals, enzymes, new cells as well as a host of other essential substances. In fact, most cells in our bodies are replaced by newer cells at least every few years.

If the quality of the raw materials used to make these new cell is poor, as time goes on the overall health of these new cells decreases and the aging process is accelerated. Imagine a body made from candy bars, French fries, and diet sodas. Now compare that to a body made from fresh fruit, organic kale and spinach and lots of pure water. Do you think there would be a distinct difference in the quality and health of the cells and organs between the two bodies? There would absolutely be a difference. Therefore, if the health of the cells and organs in our bodies are affected by the type and quality of food we eat, it stands to reason that the food we eat has a direct impact on how we feel, both physically and emotionally. It will determine if our bodies work properly or if we will be susceptible to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, hormone imbalances, diabetes, thyroid diseases, depression, digestive disorders and other issues not ordinarily associated with diet.

As evident in our society, food can cause as much harm as good. According to the Centers for Disease Control, close to 70% of all US deaths are related to diet and lifestyle. As a Naturopathic Physician, at The Lifestyle Clinic, my main goal is to make sure that the basic nutritional requirements for each patient is being met. At our office, we don’t just look at symptoms. Instead when do a comprehensive evaluation of each patient’s medical history, family/genetic history, exercise routine, stress levels and all the major body systems. This ensures that we provide the best holistic individual food plan for each patient.

The type and quality of food we eat is extremely important. I place a direct focus on whole food nutrition. My patients are always encouraged to eat foods that occur naturally in nature as close to their natural state as possible and avoid processed and synthetic food. In fact, my philosophy is that there are only two basic food groups. The first is real, natural whole foods that you can recognize just by looking at them. The second is synthetic food products that do not occur in nature and you will need to read a list of ingredients to figure out exactly what you are eating. Needless to say, eating from the first group is always preferred. It is a simple philosophy that makes sense of nutrition in this very technical and complicated world. It eliminates the need for counting calories, grams of sodium, grams of fat and all the other unhealthy additives found in processed or synthetic food.

Natural food comes perfectly packaged and balanced by nature. If we eat a good colorful variety of organic fruits, vegetables and some lean animal protein, we provide our bodies with what they need to maintain, improve and preserve our health.

Written by Dr. Kivette Parkes, ND

Drinking water

Safe and Simple Detox Tips

1. Eating plenty of fiber to speed toxin elimination.

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber that will help move waste through your system.

2. Focus on detoxifying foods.

Be sure to eat plenty of naturally detoxifying foods. Foods rich in sulfur will be especially beneficial.

3. Drinking plenty of pure water.

Your body depends on water to help your cells eliminate waste and your organs flush out toxins, so it’s imperative to

stay well hydrated during a detox.

4. Eliminating toxins from your diet and your home environment.

It’s important to eat organic foods while detoxing. This will reduce the chemical load on your liver. Choosing natural cleansing products will also help.

5. Exercising.

Your skin is an important route of elimination, and your body is capable of removing many toxins through your sweat.

Call us today to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to find out why a detox can benefit you!

Nutrition Charlotte NC

Cholesterol Myths Busted

You’ve probably heard HDL referred to as the “good” cholesterol. But you might not know what makes it so good. Why is some cholesterol helpful to the heart and other cholesterol (namely LDL) harmful? But there’s more to the story of cholesterol and cardiovascular risk than LDL. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), dubbed the “good” cholesterol, removes LDL from the artery walls and ferries it back to the liver for processing or removal, lowering LDL.

According to Harvard Health Publications, HDL also acts as:

An antioxidant – antioxidants can protect against coronary artery disease.

An anti-inflammatory – Though inflammation is an essential part of the body’s defenses, it can cause problems, too. In the heart, inflammation can trigger atherosclerosis, and influence the formation of artery-blocking clots, the ultimate cause of heart attacks and many strokes.

An antithrombotic – Thrombosis is the forming of clots, and preventing these clots from forming in the coronary arteries can prevent heart attack and stroke. People with low levels of HDL are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes; high levels appear to be protective. In the Framingham Heart Study, low levels of HDL were an even more potent risk factor for heart disease than high levels of LDL. Other studies have linked high HDL levels to a reduced risk of stroke, greater longevity, and better cognitive function in old age with lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.

Shift of Focus?

Since HDL is so protective, and increased levels will automatically then why is the traditional medical focus on lowering cholesterol? The fact is, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Since cholesterol lowering drugs are one of the most widely prescribed categories of drugs in the U.S, it may be that these ongoing efforts to lower cholesterol are actually increasing the risk of heart disease instead of lowering it. Artificially lowering LDL levels with drugs disrupts the natural cholesterol balance and can cause some unpredictable effects. Moreover, there is also rapid increase in the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia which are associated with lower cholesterol levels, specifically HDL, according to the researchers at Harvard Medical School.

What can you do about cholesterol?

The goal should be to INCREASE YOUR CHOLESTEROL, specifically HDL. When you increase HDL levels, your body automatically lowers LDL levels and creates its own dynamic balance. Fortunately, increasing HDL involves simple lifestyle modifications that include eating a predominantly plant based diet, rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These changes along with exercise, limited alcohol intake and weight loss, have been proven to be the most effective strategies for achieving heart and brain protective cholesterol levels.

Healthy Food

Happy Gut, Healthy Body

The foundation of good health starts with a healthy, happy digestive system.

The gut is where many of the most important processes happen in the body such as eliminating toxins, absorbing nutrients, filtering out viruses and bacteria, and supporting the immune system. When our gut is in optimal shape, our body tends to be healthier overall.

Below are five areas everyone can address in order to help improve their gut function. However, keep in mind that each of us has an individual picture of health. That’s why it is always a good idea to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about your own digestive wellness.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the body. They help break down food, aid in digestion, make nutrients more available, and fight against the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. The use of medications, antibiotics, and stress all compromise levels of beneficial bacteria, making it harder for them to do their job. Many of us need daily supplementation with a high quality probiotic. Naturopathic Doctors are experts in knowing what brands, strains and doses are appropriate for individuals. Also, help feed good bacteria with soluble fiber and fermented foods.

Food Sensitivities

One thing to eliminate from your diet to immediately improve your gut health are foods to which you have allergies and sensitivities. Symptoms of food sensitivities are not always as obvious as you would think — such as producing hives, inflammation, difficulty breathing or rashes. Those symptoms and allergic reactions deal with a different part of the immune system. Food sensitivities are foods that you might eat on a regular basis that your body has developed intolerance for. If the problem is left untreated, your body can become over-reactive to many kinds of foods, even some you don’t eat regularly. Your Naturopathic Doctor can test you for food sensitivities so that you can eliminate them from your diet.

Elimination

One of the most critical parts of a healthy gut is good elimination. Naturopathic Doctors can tell quite a bit about your overall state of health by the number of bowel movements you have a day as well as the quality. Fiber will help with elimination, as does movement in the form of exercise and stretching. It is important to have the right balance in the time between when you eat and when you have a bowel movement. If you are constipated, it means that toxins and body waste are sitting in your intestines. You run the risk of reabsorbing some of these toxins. If your transit time between when you eat and when you have a bowel movement is too quick, your body doesn’t have time to absorb the nutrition from your food.

Hydration

An important aspect to elimination and a healthy gut is proper hydration. We need water to flush toxins, absorb nutrients, and help the body from becoming constipated. Staying hydrated throughout the day is more beneficial to your body than drinking several glasses of water all at once. While flavored beverages can be appealing, added sugars, caffeine, dyes, and other chemicals can reverse any positive effects. Water is necessary and vital, so make sure to get enough pure, clean water in your diet.

Stress Reduction

Our gut is often thought of as our emotional center. In truth; stress, anger and anxiety can have a negative impact on our gut health. It is important to be mindful of the amount of stress you have in your life. Conscious breath, or taking deep refreshing breaths several times during the day can help release any stored up tension in your gut. If you find yourself storing stress, try taking a walk outside, phone a friend, or listen to music that soothes you.

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Mental Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids

 They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them — you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

Uses in Mental Health:

Depression

Several studies have found that people who took omega-3 fatty acids in addition to prescription antidepressants had a greater improvement in symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone. Other studies show that omega-3 fatty acid intake helps protect against postpartum depression, among other benefits.

Cognitive Decline

A number of studies show that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased risk of age related cognitive decline or dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

ADHD

Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have low levels of certain essential fatty acids (including EPA and DHA). In a clinical study of nearly 100 boys, those with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had more learning and behavioral problems (such as temper tantrums and sleep disturbances) than boys with normal omega-3 fatty acid levels.

Anxiety

The results of a 2011 study from the National Institutes of Health suggest that increased intakes of omega 3 fatty acids could be beneficial for young, healthy people by reducing anxiety symptoms and inflammation, a process that plays a role in many diseases. Consumers should be aware that all Omega 3 fish oil supplements are not created equal. The purity and concentration of supplements vary widely depending on the source of the fish and the processes used to create the fish oil. Inexpensive, bargain brands have been shown to contain dangerous chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury. If you are considering taking omega 3 fish oils, talk to your health care provider or schedule a supplement consultation at The Lifestyle Clinic.

We only use physician grade supplements that are high quality and highly purified.

Sources:

  • The Natitional Institutes of Health ( nih.gov), University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine (umm.edu)
Lifestyle Clinic in Charlotte NC

15 Reasons You Should be Drinking Green Tea

People all over the world have enjoyed this wonderful beverage for years.

This delicious beverage pack a potent punch, here’s why:

  1. Lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease
  2. Helps protect against bacterial infections
  3. Reduces inflammation
  4. Proven and effective method of reducing high blood pressure
  5. Helps fight cancer
  6. Detoxifies the intestines
  7. Helps digestion
  8. Promotes weight loss
  9. Boosts energy
  10. Reduces blood sugar
  11. Protects cells from free radicals
  12. Improves immune system
  13. Helps prevent tooth decay
  14. Protects the liver
  15. Protects against the negative effects of smoking
Lifestyle Clinic in Charlotte NC

Chocolate and Heart Health

Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It cannot be created within the body, and must be ingested in order to help maintain muscle, bone and nerve function, keep a steady heart rhythm and blood pressure, create a strong immune system and regulate blood sugar levels.

Foods high in Magnesium include green vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Another excellent source of magnesium is cocoa, especially powdered cocoa. When under stress, we use up a lot of magnesium.

Chocolate cravings may be a sign of magnesium deficiency, because chocolate is high in magnesium. Other signs of low magnesium include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.

Before supplementing Magnesium, it is important to talk it over with your Naturopathic Doctor. Each patient’s health is unique. Your ND can discuss with you how best to supplement magnesium in your diet.

Nutrition Charlotte NC

The 8 Best Foods for your Heart

Salmon – Immensely rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon can reduce blood pressure and minimize blood clots. 2-3 servings per weeks may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to 1/3. Other fish like salmon are mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines will also boost your heart health.

Avocado – Packed with monounsaturated fat, and can help lower LDL while raising HDL.

Walnuts – High in Omega 3 fatty acids walnuts are a heart-healthy snack.

Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are full of anti-inflammatories, which aid in reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Legumes – Lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.

Spinach – Is said to keep your heart in tip-top shape. It’s full of lutein, folate, potassium and fiber.

Flaxseed – Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega- 6 fatty acids.

Olive Oil – Full of monounsaturated fats, it can lower the LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Fresh Fruit - Nutrition

Why Supplement Brands and Ingredients Matter

The month of March is known as National Nutrition Month it is only fitting that we talk about isolated and synthetic vs. whole food nutrients. Vitamins and mineral supplements have generally had a “healthy” reputation, in regards to our diet. However, in past centuries, people were able to stay healthy without supplements because they generally ate a healthier diet than we do today and, therefore, less prone to the degenerative diseases.

Today we are faced with increasing amounts of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. It is now becoming increasingly difficult without supplements. If we take this a step further we can also notice that in the past, foods were grown on small farms in mineral-rich soils. However, today, foods are grown in mineral- deficient soils on “factory farms” where the main goal is to produce high “quantity” rather than high “quality” food. Over the years modern technology has advanced immensely that we can now isolate the vitamins and minerals our modern day diets are lacking.

The question now is, “Is this sufficient to promote optimum health and is this an improvement on what our ancestors did?”

History tells us that when European travelers were crossing the Atlantic Ocean in route to the New World they discovered if they drank fresh lime-juice they did not get scurvy (a Vitamin C deficiency resulting in bleeding gums, weakness and joint pain etc). It wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists finally isolated the beneficial component in citrus fruits as Vitamin C. What we fail to realize is by taking isolated Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid it’s only a temporary fix. As soon as the ascorbic acid is discontinued, the symptoms and disease return. On the other hand if one takes Vitamin C made from an extract of whole green peppers not only do the symptoms disappear and the scurvy is gone when discontinued.

Although technology has been very beneficial in helping us understand the way food and nutrients work, we can now see that isolating and concentrating single nutrients does not have the same effect as using the whole food.  When selecting vitamins and supplements, be sure to read the label and look for whole food ingredients. If no foods are listed, then that product may be isolated chemicals and may not provide you with any health benefits. In fact, synthetic vitamin products may actually be harmful and cause health issues in the long run. Eating a diet rich in real, unprocessed whole foods is the best way to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. Added to that, supplementing natural whole food vitamins and minerals can enhance overall nutritional status.

In our practice, we utilize whole food organic supplements. We emphasize a diet rich in whole foods and help patients to return to a more natural way of eating.  For more information, feel free to give us a call and schedule a free consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors.