foods to eat and to avoid to improve your focus | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Having Trouble Focusing? Here’s What Might Be Causing It

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Having Trouble Focusing? Here's What Might Be Causing It | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

We’ve all had days where we couldn’t focus on work.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself trying to read an important document, only to realize you’ve been re-reading the same sentence over and over again.

Or you try to get started on a particular task only to find yourself constantly distracted.

Seeing as how difficulty concentrating is one of the side effects of stress, you may have been feeling more unfocused than usual this year.

Because – let’s face it – 2020 has been a more stressful year than normal.

Sometimes we refer to difficulty focusing as “brain fog”.

Keep reading to learn more about what brain fog is, and what might be causing it.

What Is Brain Fog?

Also known as mental fatigue, mental fog, or, clouding of consciousness, brain fog is defined by:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of focus
  • Memory difficulties
  • Lowered mental clarity

While not a medical condition in and of itself, brain fog is generally a symptom of another medical condition.

What Causes Brain Fog?

There are a number of potential causes of brain fog.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the conditions it can be associated with.

1. Poor Nutrition

The foods you eat have an important effect on how you feel.

Eating foods you have an allergy or intolerance to can result in a number of side effects, including brain fog.

Common food allergies which may result in brain fog include:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Peanuts
  • MSG
  • Aspartame

Not getting enough of certain nutrients can also affect brain function.

In particular, vitamin B12 deficiency may result in dementia, depression, paranoia, and sometimes irreversible neurological damage.

foods to eat and to avoid to improve your focus | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

2. Poor Sleeping Habits

You probably know what it feels like to not get enough sleep.

When this happens, you feel slow and sluggish, and your reactions aren’t as quick as when you’re fully rested.

If this happens once in a while, most of us can push through, perhaps with the help of an extra coffee or two.

However chronic insomnia or lack of sleep can have long term effects and interfere with your health and relationships.

Risk factors for insomnia include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • High stress
  • Age – older adults are at higher risk
  • Sex – women are at greater risk
  • Certain medications, including SSRI drugs like Prozac, anabolic steroids, and dopamine agonists.
  • Caffeine and other stimulants
  • Obesity
  • Changes in the environment
  • Poor sleep hygiene

3. High Stress

Everyone will experience some stress in their lives – and at times it can even be beneficial.

During the stress response, your body releases hormones which help get you ready to respond to situations by increasing your heart rate and breathing in order to send more oxygen to the body.

If the stress response doesn’t subside when the stressor is gone, however, it can result in symptoms which affect your overall health and well-being.

The physiological effects of stress affecting concentration include headaches,depression, and insomnia.

Stress can also lead to mental fatigue which makes it difficult to concentrate.

4. Hormonal Issues

Changes in hormone levels can result in difficulties with memory and concentration.

For example, during pregnancy, levels of progesterone and estrogen increase, and this can cause what is sometimes referred to as “pregnancy brain”, memory issues and short-term cognitive impairment.

On the other side, lowered estrogen levels during menopause can have the same effects.

Some ways to counteract the memory issues which come with menopause include:

  • Getting enough quality sleep
  • Exercise
  • A healthy, nutritious diet
  • Doing brain teasers such as crossword puzzles, quizzes, and Sudoku

5. Certain Pharmaceutical Drugs

Brain fog is a side effect of many pharmaceuticals on the market.

Some examples include:

  • Flurazepam, a benzodiazepine similar to Valium, used as treatment for insomnia.
  • Prednisone, a steroid used to treat different types of inflammation and many conditions.
  • Escitalopram, an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drug.

These are just a few examples of drugs which can cause difficulty concentration – always be sure to read any warning labels on your medications and be aware especially if they note that they can cause drowsiness.

6. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the world’s most widespread causes of chronic pain.

Those with fibromyalgia often experience fatigue and heightened pain response.

Another side effect is brain fog, specifically memory difficulties, and confusion.

The reason for these side effects is unknown, although it may be linked to nervous system disruptions which in-turn affect blood flow to the brain.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you experiencing difficulty concentrating?

Having trouble remembering even simple things?

Are you worried this might be the side effect of a larger issue?

I’m Dr. Maria, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, and I’m here to help.

I’ll help you get to the bottom of your brain fog – figure out what is causing it and offer natural solutions which get to the root of the problem.

Contact me today to set up a consultation.

Is A Raw Food Diet A Good Idea? | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Is A Raw Food Diet A Good Idea?

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Is A Raw Food Diet A Good Idea? | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

For many people, moving to a raw food diet has been not just a good idea but a great one.

It may be ideological, purely for health reasons, or an attempt at how to lose weight and keep it off.

Whatever the reason, though, it’s important to consider all the impacts a raw food diet can have.

Below, you can find out more about how a raw food diet works, but it’s also a good idea to book a nutritional counselling session to find out more.

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

In a raw food diet, seventy percent or more of the food you eat will be completely raw.

You can heat food to a certain extent – but only up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (or 48 degrees Celsius).

Beyond this point, certain nutrients can be damaged in the process.

The majority of the raw food diet includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and sprouted grains.

Benefits Of A Raw Food Diet

Let’s start by looking at the many benefits of a raw food diet.

Please note that although we’ve expanded below on some of the primary benefits, there are other benefits.

It can also be very good for your skin, the environment, and can help reduce your chances of getting certain chronic diseases.

1. It Focuses On Whole Foods

The average diet leans away from dairy, meat, and grain-dense foods.

When you drop these from your diet, what’s left are the whole foods, including vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Broadly speaking, these foods can bring you most of the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

This diet also ends up being low in sugars, sodium, preservatives, and additives.

2. It Can Be An Effective Weight Loss Tool

A very common ‘side effect’ of eating a raw food diet that I hear from my patients is that they lose weight.

When patients start to eat whole, raw foods, they start getting high-quality calories.

Part of the reason we eat too much is because our bodies require the nutrients, and will keep us hungry until it gets what it needs.

If we eat foods with low-density nutrients, we will have to eat more to get what’s needed.

Meanwhile, eating high-quality calories means you’ll need fewer calories.

It’s a very pleasant side effect, as side effects go.

As a result, the raw food diet has developed a bit of a reputation for being an effective tool for weight loss.

3. It’s High In Fibre

Instead of getting fibre from breads and other fast food, you’ll be getting the fibre from more natural sources – which are often higher in fibre than their counterparts.

All that added fibre, in the form of fruits and vegetables, will help clean out your system, provide bulk to your diet and feeling fuller longer, and will help keep you comfortably regular.

4. It Retains Nutrients That Cooking Would Otherwise Destroy

That’s right – when you cook your food, you’re mostly destroying some of the most beneficial nutrients, or leaching them out into cooking water.

By protecting those nutrients, you’re obtaining more of them from the same amount of food, increasing the chances your body is getting what it needs from your meals.

In particular, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and several of the B vitamins can be damaged by the process of cooking.

5. It Virtually Eliminates Processed Foods

Everyone knows that processed foods are bad for them, but it can be tough to keep away from.

Another factor is that we don’t truly listen to our body’s signals well enough, and instead of giving it what it’s actually wanting – whole, nutritious food – we are filling it with processed junk.

When you commit to a raw food diet, it necessitates dropping processed foods – however, many people find they don’t miss them once their diet transition is complete.

the benefits of a raw food diet | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Drawbacks Of A Raw Food Diet

Of course, every change will have negatives as well as positives.

Part of making a wise decision for you is to look at the drawbacks as carefully as the benefits.

At The Mindful Healing Clinic, we stand for patient education, however, and want to be sure you have all the information you need.

1. It’s Highly Restrictive

Although there are more and more workarounds being discovered by raw food chefs, you just can’t get past the fact that everything you eat on this diet is essentially going to be uncooked.

The cooking process allows for many modifications in how the food is delivered, and such options will be gone.

It’s not just that juicy steak we’re talking about – items like tea and coffee will also be out of bounds, because of the roasting or manufacturing process.

Anything canned is also off the table.

2. It’s Hard On Your Digestive System

Some people have stronger stomachs than others, but the raw food diet can still surprise the hardiest.

One of the reasons is that the fibre you will get plentifully can lead to bloating and gas, in particular a specific type of fibre called cellulose.

The cooking process breaks these fibres down, which makes vegetables easier to digest.

Blending your food can also make these fibres easier to digest, hence why many raw vegans rely heavily on blenders.

3. Cooking Increases The Availability Of Some Nutrients

Now, while we largely retain the best nutrients by eschewing the cooking process, there are times when cooking actually improves the availability of a nutrient.

One example is tomatoes: when cooked, they have up to four times more lycopene.

By adhering to a strict raw diet, you won’t be able to acquire these nutrients in as great quantities.

4. It Increases The Risk Of Some Foodborne Illnesses

Although most people who follow a raw food diet are vegans or vegetarians, there are people who follow the diet that are not.

Yes, you can eat raw meat or fish, in certain situations, as well as raw milk, and other dairy products made using raw milk.

However, the heating process is beneficial for killing off bacteria.

By eating only meat, fish and dairy in their raw state, you’re more likely to be hit with a foodborne bacterium and fall ill.

5. It’s Difficult To Meet Some Nutrient Needs

Protein can be difficult to get in sufficient quantities when on a raw food diet, even if you still eat some limited meat or dairy.

Vegetable-based proteins commonly used by vegans are not all appropriate on a raw food diet, further complicating the issue.

Is A Raw Food Diet Right For You?

Everyone’s needs are different, and everyone has different constraints, so adjustments must always be made for those with considerations.

However, it can be a healthy diet, if followed correctly and if it matches your lifestyle.

Because the answer to this question really depends on each individual, it’s the reason any diet changes require medical check-in first.

As a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, we are qualified to help you determine the answer for that.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

If you’ve read both the pros and the cons above, and you’re interested in trying out a raw food diet, we’d be very pleased to help you along your path.

Book an appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic to get a qualified medical professional review your current health and make sure that you won’t be causing more harm than good.

We have the experience to help you find just the right diet and plan to help you achieve your health goals.

The Health Benefits Of Carrots | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

The Health Benefits Of Carrots

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The Health Benefits Of Carrots | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

When it comes to healthy meal planning there is a lot of conflicting information available.

Should you go vegan, or pivot in the opposite direction with keto?

Is paleo for you, or will you visit South Beach?

Or perhaps you just want to eat sensibly, in a way which makes sense for you.

Today we will have a closer look at a vegetable that is good for you, jam-packed full of nutrients, with a wide array of health benefits.

What’s more, it’s welcome in just about any healthy diet you can imagine.

Keep reading to learn more about the mighty carrot.

Why Are Carrots Different Colours?

Picture a carrot.

It’s probably orange.

Maybe it’s in the hand of a certain cartoon rabbit.

But there’s a lot more to carrot than the orange variety popularized by Bugs Bunny.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Streetsville Mississauga and I’m going to help demystify some of the different types of carrots for you.

Let’s start by looking at why carrots come in a whole rainbow of colours.

Red, orange, yellow, magenta, purple, and even white.

And each colour of the carrot comes with different benefits.

Orange carrots are high in beta-carotene, purple carrots are high in anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid, and could be orange, red, or white on the inside.

What’s The Deal With Baby Carrots?

When you want a healthy snack between meals, sometimes you might reach for “baby carrots”.

But what exactly are these bite-sized snacks?

They can refer to each whole carrots which are harvest before they are fully grown, but more often they’re fully grown carrots that are machine-cut, polished, and peeled into the easy-to-eat snack you’re familiar with.

Because they start from the same source as fully-grown carrots, baby carrots have the same nutrient profile as their larger counterparts and carry with them the same health benefits.

Health Benefits Of Carrots

Whether as part of your dinner, or a quick snack in between meals, carrots are jam-packed full of health benefits.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you’ll want to add more to your diet.

why carrots are so good for your health | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

1. They’re Nutrient Dense

Carrots are packed full of important vitamins and minerals your body needs.

These nutrients include:

● Vitamin A
Vitamin C
● Vitamin K
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B7
● Potassium

2. They’re Good For Your Eyes (No, Really)

You may have heard rumours carrots can help improve your eyesight.

But is there any truth to this, or is it just an old wives’ tale?

As it turns out, they might just be something to this claim.

A 2013 study in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics notes carrots have an extremely high vitamin A content, which is important for eye health.

People with low vitamin A levels experience night blindness more often than those with higher levels.

Additionally, beta-carotene protects your eyes from the sun, and reduces your odds of developing cataracts.

3. They’re Good For Your Heart

Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, so if you can take simple measures to protect your heart, why wouldn’t you?

As it turns out, eating carrots is one way you can do this.

A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found eating carrots reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats.

It also increased antioxidant levels which are also linked to heart-health.

4. They’re Good For Your Immune System

Carrots are a source of vitamin C, which is known for its immune-boosting properties.

It is used by the body to produce collagen which is important for wound healing, and the function of immune cells.

Vitamin C consumed when the immune system is under stress .

5. They’re Low On The Glycemic Index

Carrots are a sweet vegetable, however, they are relatively low in sugar overall.

Because they are low on the glycemic index (GI), carrots won’t cause a blood sugar spike.

This means they are safe for people with either type 1 diabetesor type 2 diabetes, and other concerns regarding blood sugar levels.

6. They Can Help With Digestive Issues

Carrots contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibres feed the good bacteria in your gut, which is important to keep your gut healthy.

Insoluble fibres such as cellulose and lignin help combat constipation and promote regularity.

7. They Can Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer

Some of the compounds found in carrots may be linked to a reduced risk of cancer.

Cancer risk is increased by an abundance of free radicals in the body, and this can be counteracted by antioxidants.

Carrots are high in carotenoids, such as beta carotene, as well as vitamins A and C which are both antioxidants.

Specific links have been found showing a relationship between carrots or carrot juice and lower risks of prostate cancer, leukemia, and lung cancer.

8. They Can Help You Lose Weight

Carrots are a low calorie, and high fibre food, it makes sense carrots would be beneficial for weight loss.

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found subjects who ate carrots with a meal felt increased feelings of satiety and ate fewer calories for the remainder of the day.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Do you worry your diet may be lacking?

Despite trying to eat well and balanced meals, do you feel sluggish throughout the day, and wonder if it might be because you aren’t getting enough of a particular vitamin?

Here at the Mindful Healing Clinic, we want to help.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, N.D., and I offer nutritional guidance which can help you fill any gaps in your diet, and get you feeling your best again.

Contact me today to set up a consultation, and let me show you how naturopathic medicine can help you.

How To Bounce Back After Bingeing On Junk Food | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

How To Bounce Back After Bingeing On Junk Food

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How To Bounce Back After Bingeing On Junk Food | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

We’ve all done it.

After weeks spent following a healthier lifestyle, you get a craving for a food you don’t get to eat very often.

Just a little bit won’t hurt.

But before you know it, you’ve binged on an entire family-size bag of chips and a whole sleeve of cookies.

It’s not a great feeling, but you can come back from it.

With support from a local naturopathic doctor, you can learn how to bounce back after bingeing on junk food, and how to better manage your diet to safeguard yourself against future binges.

The obvious best choice is to avoid junk food, but nobody’s perfect.

Let’s take a look at what happens after a junk food binge, and what you can do to help yourself bounce back from it.

What Happens When You Binge On Junk Food?

A “binge” is defined as an episode where you eat a large amount of food in a short period of time, often to the point where you feel uncomfortably full.

A binge also usually involves food that’s high in fat, carbs, or sugar—we don’t typically talk about binge-eating fruit and vegetables.

When you binge on junk food, your blood sugar rises, which can lead to arterial inflammation and chronic disease.

It’s also hard to break the cycle of bingeing, because typical binge foods tend to be addictive.

In fact, one 2007 study found that the chemical reward your brain gives you for intensely sweet food is stronger than the chemical reward you get from a hit of cocaine.

But all hope is not lost.

There are ways to come back from a binge.

Keep reading to learn how you can recover after eating too much.

How To Recover From A Junk Food Binge And Get Back On Track

Even though you may feel consumed by guilt and shame, there are ways to come back from a binge.

One bad moment doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your life or your health forever.

Check out this list of things you can do after a binge to get back on track.

1. First, Be Kind To Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up.

Junk food is named that for a reason, and you probably already know all the reasons why you should avoid it.

But willpower can only last so long.

2020 has been a hell of a year, and sometimes when you’re dealing with a particularly difficult period in your life, food can be an important source of comfort.

You probably feel bad enough physically, and being hard on yourself emotionally isn’t going to help.

Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings of discomfort and then do something nice for yourself that doesn’t involve food.

Remind yourself that tomorrow is another day and you can start fresh.

2. Go To Bed, And Get A Good Night’s Sleep

After a binge, make sure you get a full 7-9 hours of sleep.

Getting enough sleep means that you’re less likely to eat high-carb and high-fat food the following day.

A 2013 study found that people who got fewer hours of sleep were more likely to overeat the following day, and consume more calories from carbs and fat.

People who slept for longer ate less overall, and ate less fatty and carb-heavy food.

If you’re the type who has trouble sleeping (many of us have been there), consider a yoga practice before bed.

3. Tomorrow Morning, Eat A Breakfast Rich In Fibre And Protein. Don’t Starve Yourself

The day after a binge, you might be tempted to restrict food intake.

This is actually much more harmful than eating a proper breakfast, because you risk triggering your body’s starvation mode, which happens when your body realizes you’re not getting the nutrients you need and it retains the energy that it already has.

After a binge, you’ll likely still wake up hungry and you should still be eating a nutritious meal.

The best kind of food for this is a mix of proteins, carbs, and fat: eggs, avocados, and fruit, for example.

These are foods that stimulate digestion and will help your body process the meal from the previous day.

healthy foods to rebound for junk foods | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

4. Drink Lots Of Water

Even though you may feel super full, you should still stay hydrated.

Drinking water can help support your digestive system and make you feel less bloated.

Drinking water also helps your metabolism stay healthy.

Consider keeping a glass of water handy, and filling it up whenever you notice that it’s empty.

5. Get Some Exercise, Even If It’s Light

Exercise can make you feel better the day after a binge because it releases endorphins to the brain.

It also will help you feel less sluggish.

Just be careful not to overexert yourself.

Exercise shouldn’t be a direct counter after bingeing; you should do it because it feels good, not because you want to compensate for eating too much.

6. For Lunch And Dinner, Eat Clean

You don’t need to do a full detoxification routine after a binge, but your meals the day after should help reset your eating habits.

Ideally, your next couple of meals would have a healthy balance of protein, fiber, and fat.

Baked or grilled proteins, leafy greens, and complex carbs like quinoa and sweet potatoes are great ideas for post-binge recovery meals.

7. Work On The Root Of The Problem

There are plenty of good ideas to help you get back on track after a binge, but you might end up doing it all over again if you don’t address the root problem.

It may be that your diet is too restrictive, which makes you prone to overeating at inconvenient times.

Or you might have emotional reasons for seeking comfort food.

Whatever the problem is, working with a naturopathic doctor to discover and understand it is a great step towards cultivating sustainable and healthy eating habits.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you fed up of the vicious cycle of bingeing and then trying to get back on track?

Or do you want to learn more about the reasons that cause you to want to binge, and how to solve them?

If you’re ready to start the journey towards healthier living, book an appointment with Dr. Maria at the Mindful Healing Clinic.

During your first appointment, you’ll be able to discuss your health concerns with us and we’ll come up with a plan that works for you.

Your goals are our goals: helping you to achieve a healthier lifestyle with natural solutions.

Book an appointment with us today.

Top 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In North American Women | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Top 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In North American Women

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Top 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In North American Women | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Have you ever wondered why vitamin and nutrition companies often label some vitamins as a “women’s blend” and others as “made for men”?

While there are a lot of unnecessary products marketed along sex and gender lines, this is one area where these differences might be merited, as there are certain nutrients which women are more likely to be deficient in.

It’s a good idea to visit a women’s health naturopathic clinic to recognize the signs of these common nutrient deficiencies, and how to remedy them.

Keep reading to learn more about five common nutrients you should probably be getting more of.

Iron

Iron is carried through the body on red blood cells, which means a loss of blood can result in iron deficiency.

This puts people who menstruate at a higher risk for iron deficiency, due to the loss of blood which comes with the monthly menstrual cycle.

Due to this fact, it is especially important for people who menstruate to ensure they are getting enough iron in their diets.

What Happens When You’re Iron Deficient

Low iron levels can result in low red blood cell count, also known as anemia.

Symptoms of anemia include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Brittle nails

A swollen, sore tongue

Dietary Sources Of Iron

If you want to get iron from food, some of the best sources include:

  • Lean beef
  • Oysters
  • Beets
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Lentils and beans
  • Tofu
  • Avocados
  • Cashews
  • Fortified cereal
  • Kale
  • Dark, leafy greens

The amount of iron which can be absorbed by the body is affected by what you eat with it.

Foods containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, can help promote iron absorption in the body, however, calcium can inhibit the absorption of iron.

Vitamin D

Although vitamin D can be produced in the body when we are exposed to sunlight, many people are deficient in this important nutrient.

Vitamin D is important for maintaining your immune system.

It is especially important for bone health, particularly for individuals who are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, and the elderly.

What Happens When You’re Vitamin D Deficient?

A lack of vitamin D is associated with the following risks:

Dietary Sources Of Vitamin D

One of the best ways to get vitamin D is sun exposure (15 to 30 minutes per day), however, this can be difficult for those living in cold climates.

Additionally, sun exposure comes with a heightened risk of skin cancer or sunburn.

Furthermore, most sunscreens block the ability of the skin to absorb vitamin D.

For these reasons, many people will choose to get vitamin D in their diet, rather than relying on sun exposure alone.

Dietary sources of vitamin D include:

  • Salmon
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Egg yolks
  • Sardines
  • Mushrooms
  • Canned tuna

Women are deficient in these nutrients in North America | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Calcium

An important mineral for bone health is calcium.

In children, it helps with bone growth, and as we age it’s vital for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

Too much calcium can lead to heart disease and kidney stones, so if you are considering a calcium supplement it is best to discuss this with your naturopathic doctor first.

What Happens When You’re Calcium Deficient

Low calcium levels can leave you at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Unfortunately, as there are not any other signs to watch for, most people will not realize they are deficient until it is too late.

Dietary Sources Of Calcium

A few great dietary sources of calcium include:

  • Milk and milk alternatives, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, and broccoli (but not spinach)
  • Soy beans
  • Nuts
  • Sardines, anchovies, and other fish where you eat the bones

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has a number of important roles in the body, and of all of the B-vitamins, it’s the one people are most likely to be deficient in.

It plays roles in the creation of red blood cells, neurological function, as well as promotes gut health and digestion.

One of the causes of the increase in vitamin B12 deficiency is the rise of vegetarian diets.

What Happens When You’re Vitamin B12 Deficient?

Some signs to watch out for, which indicate vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the hands, legs, and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Swollen tongue
  • Anemia

Dietary Sources Of Vitamin B12

If you are looking to get more vitamin B12 in your diet, consider adding the following:

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Organ meats such as liver and kidney
  • Clams
  • Beef
  • Fortified cereal
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Milk and dairy products

As you can see, the vast majority of foods containing vitamin B12 are animal products.

For this reason, vegetarians or vegans may want to speak to their naturopathic doctor about taking a B12 supplement.

Iodine

Iodine plays an important role in the development of thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormones are vital in a number of functions including controlling body temperature, metabolism, digestive function, and brain development.

Iodine is particularly important for pregnant individuals, as iodine deficiency can result in intellectual disabilities for the fetus.

What Happens When You’re Iodine Deficient?

Iodine deficiency can cause your thyroid to work harder, as it tries to overcompensate for low levels of this mineral.

This results in goiter, or swelling of the throat.

Other symptoms of low iodine, also known as hypothyroidism, include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling cold
  • Thinning hair
  • Difficulty learning and remembering things

Dietary Sources Of Iodine

Although you may have heard that iodized salt is a good source of iodine, there are obvious downsides to relying on salt for the majority of your iodine intake.

Besides, it isn’t recommended to eat iodized salt as it results in thyroid dysfunction and other toxicities.

Food sources of iodine include:

  • Seaweed
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood and fish, such as cod, shrimp, and tuna
  • Lima beans
  • Prunes

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you worried about your nutrient intake?

Did reading this list make you realize you might be missing out on some important nutrients which your body needs?

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help.

Book an appointment with Dr. Maria to determine any areas where your diet might be lacking, and create a plan to help ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you need to thrive.

Contact us today for more information, or to set up an appointment.

What Are Antioxidants, And What Do They Do For You? | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

What Are Antioxidants, And What Do They Do For You?

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What Are Antioxidants, And What Do They Do For You? | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

You’ve probably heard of antioxidants.

Often used as a buzzword in the marketing of certain foods and supplements, you likely have an inkling that they’re good for you.

But what exactly do they do?

I’m a naturopathic doctor, and I want to de-mystify antioxidants for you – what they are, what they do, and how to ensure you’re getting enough.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules which protect your cells against damage from free radicals.

Often found in plant-based foods, as well as a number of vitamins, antioxidants protect against oxidative stress which can lead to ailments such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and respiratory distress, among other things.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are unstable molecules which attack molecules essential for many bodily functions.

However, this doesn’t mean they are all bad – certain functions rely on free radicals; for instance, they are used by your immune system to fight infection.

When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, however, this can lead to oxidative stress.

Benefits Of Antioxidants

Antioxidants have a wide array of health benefits associated with them.

The biggest one is they reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress.

Other benefits include:

  • Promoting blood vessel health
  • Protecting against some types of cancer
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Promoting heart health
  • Promoting prostate health
  • Protecting vision and preserving eye health

Important Antioxidants

There are a variety of sources which can provide antioxidants, and they all have slightly different benefits.

Let’s take a look at some important sources of antioxidants.

foods with high antioxidants levels | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient which is found in a variety of plant-based foods.

Some great sources of vitamin C include:

  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers
  • Kiwi fruit

Not only is vitamin C an antioxidant, but it can help revive other types of antioxidants which have been attacked by free radicals.

Vitamin C is also known to be effective in managing stress, reducing high blood pressure, and reducing risk of heart disease.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant which limits the production of free radicals.

It has an important role to play in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.

Some food-based sources of vitamin E include:

Vitamin E also plays a role in the health of your skin, your immune system, and your kidneys, as well as in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

3. Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrients found in plant-based foods.

Benefits of flavonoids include decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and stroke.

Foods which contain flavonoids include:

4. Selenium

This powerful antioxidant may help protect against some types of cancer.

It comes in two forms – organic and inorganic, and the body can utilize both of these.

Foods high in selenium include:

  • Sardines in oil
  • Halibut
  • Brazil nuts
  • Yellowfin tuna

Selenium is also a useful supplement in naturopathic treatments for Graves’ disease

5. Iron

Iron is a nutrient which helps to protect against cell membrane damage.

There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme.

Heme iron is found in meat-based foods and is easier for the body to absorb than non-heme iron.

Some foods sources of iron include:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Oysters
  • Fortified cereals
  • White beans
  • Beets
  • Apples

Iron is often an important element in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

6. Other Antioxidants

Some other antioxidants and their sources include:

  • Vitamin A (dairy products, eggs)
  • Beta-carotene (brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, mangos, and spinach)
  • Lycopene (pink and red fruits, such as tomatoes or watermelon)
  • Lutein (green, leafy vegetables)
  • Copper (oysters, black beans, soy protein)
  • Manganese (pecans, brown rice, pineapple)
  • Zinc (Beef roast, beef patty, fortified cereals, oysters, crab)

Should You Take Antioxidant Supplements?

As with any nutrient, it’s always best to get your intake of antioxidants through diet, rather than supplementation.

Too high of an intake of some antioxidants can actually be harmful, and people who take high-dose supplements are at greater risk of harmful side effects than those who get antioxidants through diet.

Additionally, sometimes they can interfere with medication.

Many antioxidants work best when combined with the other nutrients in the foods they’re found in and aren’t as effective when taken independently.

If you suspect you are low in a specific nutrient, it’s always best to discuss with your doctor or naturopath if supplements are the right choice for you.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you confused about nutrition?

Worried you might not be getting enough of the right nutrients?

Not sure if there is a specific diet or eating plan which you should be following?

Do you have a medical conditions which you think is being aggravated by your current diet?

I’m Dr. Maria, and I want to help.

I offer naturopathic nutritional counselling services, with the goal to help the body to repair and heal itself.

Contact me today to set up an appointment, and learn about what naturopathic medicine can do for you.

Health Benefits Of Kale | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Health Benefits Of Kale

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Health Benefits Of Kale | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

It’s certainly a divisive topic for many.

No, I’m not talking about religion or politics.

I’m talking about kale.

Some people love it, other people can’t stand it.

Whatever your view on this leafy green veggie, there is no question it’s incredibly good for you.

You don’t need a naturopathic doctor to tell you kale is good for you, but you might not know all the reasons why.

So, let’s talk about that today.

What Is Kale?

Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable, from the brassica family.

It is related to cabbage and Brussels sprouts and is itself considered a type of cabbage.

Benefits Of Kale

Kale is extremely healthy, and packed full of nutrients.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits it offers.

get all the health benefits from Kale with delicious recipes | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

1. High In Vitamin C

Just one cup of cooked kale can provide 23% or more of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is incredibly beneficial, including for eye health, is full of antioxidants, and is used by the body to build collagen, the protein which provides the structure for skin, hair, and bones.

Additionally, a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed the effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure.

Short-term studies found that vitamin C had the effect of decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Further studies are required to learn about the longer-term effects of vitamin C on blood pressure.

Vitamin C can also be beneficial for immune system health, stress relief. And to stave off scurvy, among many other things.

2. High In Vitamin K

Vitamin K is important for bone health and can help to reduce the risk of bone fractures.

A 2017 study in the journal Medicine looked at the association between vitamin K intake and the risk of developing fractures.

It found that intake of vitamin K was significantly associated with a decreased risk of bone fractures.

One cup of kale provides approximately 15 to 18 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin K for an adult.

But despite the coincidence, the “K” in vitamin K doesn’t stand for kale – you can also get this nutrient in avocados and apples, among other places.

3. High In Iron

Kale is an excellent source of iron, which is important for a number of functions in the body.

One study, in the journal Immunologic Research looked at the effects of iron on immune response, and found it to be important to improving immune health.

Iron also plays a role in cognitive development and function.

A 2014 article in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found iron deficiency to be linked to cognitive impairment and behavioural changes.

Lack of iron was found to affect attention span, sensory perception, intelligence, and emotional response.

Finally, a report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that iron absorption is positively affected by vitamin C.

This is important because kale has both iron and vitamin C, making iron more bio-available to the body.

Iron deficiency is a symptom of many illnesses as well, including celiac disease and other digestive disorders.

Another great source of iron is beets

4. High In Antioxidants

You’ve probably heard of antioxidants, but might not be sure exactly what these are.

Antioxidants work to slow the damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules which are waste products produced by cells.

Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a number of other conditions.

Kale is high in antioxidants, which makes it useful for fighting against damage from free radicals.

Other great sources of antioxidants include apples, beets, and avocados, as well as cinnamon, ginkgo biloba, and turmeric.

5. High In Calcium

Calcium is important for healthy bone growth.

A cup of cooked kale contains approximately 15 to 18 percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium for adults.

Along with calcium, kale is also a great source of phosphorus, which is also important for bone health.

6. High In Fibre

The benefits of consuming fibre are numerous, and include:

Kale is an excellent source of fibre, containing approximately 4.7 grams per cup, which is 14 to 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of this nutrient which many people don’t get enough of.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you struggling to get proper nutrition?

Do you wonder if you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to support your overall health?

The Mindful Healing clinic can help.

We offer nutritional counselling to help you make smart nutritional decisions to fit yours and your family’s lifestyle.

Contact us today to learn more, or to set up a consultation.

Nutrient Profile: Omega-3 Fatty Acids | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Nutrient Profile: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Nutrient Profile: Omega-3 Fatty Acids | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

There are a number of essential compounds your body needs for optimal health, and omega-3 fatty acids are on that list.

You may have heard of these healthy fats due to their reputation for reducing inflammation, but there’s so much more they can do.

Whether you’re looking for natural solutions to manage anxiety, an immune system boost, or ways to improve your heart health, omega-3 fatty acids may be the natural treatment for you.

Let’s dive into all there is to know about omega-3s: what they are, how they benefit your health, and how you can ensure you’re providing your body with sufficient amounts of these essential fats.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of essential fats, meaning your body requires them to function; however, your body cannot produce them and must obtain omega-3s from your diet.

They play many important roles when it comes to your health, from assisting brain function to improving eye health, fighting inflammation, and preventing diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Naturopathic doctors frequently recommend omega-3 fatty acids because of their myriad health benefits – but more on those later.

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids — keep reading for a breakdown of the health benefits and functions of each omega-3.

1. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)

Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, is the most common omega-3 in your diet.

It is a short-chain fatty acid used as an energy source, though your body can convert small amounts into one of the other two types of omega-3s, which bring different health benefits.

ALA is found in the following foods:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybeans

2. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)

EPA, also known as eicosapentaenoic acid, is an omega-3 fatty acid found in marine products such as fish oil and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

Some microalgae are also known to contain EPA.

This long-chain fatty acid is often used to reduce triglyceride levels, and small amounts of it may be converted to DHA.

3. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

The third omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, is considered to be the most crucial of the three.

DHA is a main structural component of many body parts, including your brain and your retinas.

Like EPA, this long-chain fatty acid is found in fatty fish-based products as well as eggs, meat, and dairy from grass-fed animals.

Sufficient DHA levels may be an issue for vegans and vegetarians, which is why microalgae supplements are recommended.

What Is The Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio?

Although you’ve probably heard of omega-3s, there’s a chance you haven’t heard of omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are similar to omega-3s in that they produce eicosanoids, signaling molecules that affect blood clotting and inflammation.

However, where omega-3s reduce inflammation, it’s thought that too many omega-6s may exacerbate inflammation and counteract the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

It’s important to maintain a balance between both types of essential fatty acids, which may be difficult — the average Western diet tends to have more omega-6s than omega-3s.

The optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 4:1 or less, and the Western diet varies between 10:1 and 50:1.

Overall, it’s recommended to increase intake of omega-3s through dietary and supplementary means.

Good food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The health solutions omega-3s can provide are wide-reaching, affecting nearly every system of your body.

Let’s look at some of the specific benefits of each type of omega-3 fatty acids.

1. They’re A Natural Solution For Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety and depression are two increasingly common mental disorders, and there are many contributing factors that may be worsening symptoms like fatigue, worry, sadness, and stress.

Ensuring your body has enough omega-3 fatty acids may help ease symptoms and fight depression and anxiety.

Low omega-3 levels and high omega-6 levels have been linked to inflammation and depression, and supplementation with omega-3 fats has shown a reduction in inflammation and anxiety, even in healthy young adults.

EPA and DHA specifically have proven to benefit those with depression and/or anxiety, with EPA specifically proving to be an effective treatment for depression.

2. They’re A Natural Sleep Aid

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you aren’t alone.

Sleep quality is immensely important for your overall health, but it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sleeplessness.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be an important contributing factor in helping you get good quality sleep.

Low DHA levels are linked to low melatonin levels, which is a hormone produced by your pineal gland that regulates your natural sleep-wake cycle.

This 2014 study looked at the relationship between omega-3s and sleep by providing control groups with regular fatty fish consumption.

It found the EPA and DHA present in fish resulted in a positive impact on sleep quality, sleep latency, and overall daily functioning.

3. They’re A Natural Immune System Enhancer

The immune system is your body’s natural defence system, protecting you from illness and infection.

Although omega-3 fatty acids do help to reduce inflammation thereby reducing the strain and stress on your immune system, omega-3s also provide other immune benefits.

New research has shown DHA and EPA provide not only a reduction of inflammation but they also help boost the function of immune cells.

These immune cells, specifically known as B lymphocytes, are white blood cells that secrete antibodies and signal your immune system to target and destroy pathogens.

The above study found DHA-rich fish oil enhanced B cell activation, thereby increasing antibody production and assisting immune response.

Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids taken early in life may help reduce the risk of developing an autoimmune disease, and later in life may help reduce symptoms of conditions like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

4. They Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection or damage, but sometimes it sticks around too long or persists where there is no infection.

This is also known as chronic inflammation.

Longterm chronic inflammation can contribute to many other illnesses and diseases including cancer and heart disease.

Omega-3s can help your body reduce and heal inflammation by reducing the production of problematic compounds and molecules such as cytokines and inflammatory eicosanoids.

Supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids has shown a significant decrease of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines and substances, especially when the supplements are taken long-term.

5. They’re Good For Your Heart

Ensuring the long-term health of your heart is incredibly important, considering how strokes and heart attacks are the #1 leading cause of death around the world.

The heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids were first observed when researchers noted low rates of heart disease in communities that consume large amounts of fish.

Now, we know why omega-3s are so good for your heart.

EPA and DHA have proven to reduce blood pressure, raise your “good” HDL cholesterol levels, reduce blood clots, and keep your arteries clean of plaque.

They may also reduce triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood that may contribute to arteriosclerosis and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Regular fish consumption is recommended by the American Heart Association to decrease your risk of developing heart disease.

Dietary Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil supplements are a good and viable option for many, but it’s also important to include as many omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as possible.

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are all great dietary sources of omega-3s, as well as other types of seafood.

However, mercury content in fish is a big problem; keep consumption to 2 to 3 servings per week of low-mercury fish (salmon and sardines mainly), and avoid high-mercury fish like king mackerel and tuna.

Nuts and seeds such as flax, chia, hemp, and walnuts are also high in omega-3 fats.

Some products are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids as well, so keep an eye out next time you’re at the supermarket.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be understated, which is why it’s important to ensure you’re consuming enough of these essential fats on a daily basis.

From cognitive function to immune health, omega-3s are a crucial tool in your journey to optimal health.

Especially in these tumultuous times when anxiety and stress levels are high — there are naturopathic options to help ease both the mental and physical discomfort.

For more information on fatty acids and other naturopathic solutions for your health and well-being, contact us at The Mindful Healing Clinic.

We would love to work with you on a personalized all-natural treatment plan that works for you and your body.

Book an appointment with us at The Mindful Healing Clinic today — we can help.

Vitamin Profile: Vitamin E | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Vitamin Profile: Vitamin E

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Vitamin Profile: Vitamin E | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

There are a lot of different vitamins and minerals, all of which do different things for the body.

These days, with the advent of COVID-19 across the globe, a lot of people are taking more interest in vitamins and supplements which can help strengthen the immune system.

Although there is currently no known cure for COVID-19, we can look at natural solutions for immune health and ways we can help to make our immune systems stronger in general.

Today we’ll take a closer look at the properties of vitamin E and its effects on your body and health.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a vitamin and antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Because it is fat-soluble, it can be stored in the body and used as it is needed.

It’s also an essential nutrient, which means it can’t be synthesized by the body –you’ll need to get it through diet or supplementation.

What Does Vitamin E Deficiency Look Like?

Vitamin E deficiency is rare, however, it is more common in people who have conditions which make it difficult for them to absorb fat, due to it being a fat-soluble vitamin.

Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to the retina
  • Impaired immune response

Benefits Of Vitamin E

There are a number of important roles vitamin E plays in your health and the functioning of your body.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits vitamin E provides.

food sources that are high in Vitamin E | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

1. It Supports Your Immune System

Vitamin E is important for immune function, and one effect of vitamin E deficiency is a weakened immune system.

A 2018 study notes that along with vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin E may inhibit the progression of AIDS.

Additionally, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents blood clotting.

2. It’s An Antioxidant

Antioxidants can help protect your cells from damage due to oxidative stress.

Free radicals are formed in the body, and although they perform some important functions, such as fighting infection, left unchecked they can cause a lot of harm and cell damage quite quickly.

Antioxidants fight free radicals, keeping their levels in-check and preventing them from leading to illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Other common antioxidants include glutathione, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc, and polyphenols.

3. It Keeps Your Eyes Healthy

Cataracts are one of the most common causes of loss of vision as people age, possibly due to oxidative stress.

Thus, it has been thought that the use of antioxidants can help to reduce the incidence of cataracts.

A 2015 meta-analysis in the journal Public Health Nutrition reviewed the relationship between vitamin E and cataracts.

It was found that higher vitamin E levels were related to a decreased risk of age-related cataracts.

Vitamin b2 can also be beneficial for eyesight.

Risks Of Taking Too Much Vitamin E

Just as with any other substance, there are some risks associated with taking too much vitamin E.

Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, it is possible to overdose on this vitamin (unlike water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B12, the excess of which are eliminated through urine).

The biggest risk is bleeding due to its anticoagulant effects on the blood, and some research has linked excess vitamin E to hemorrhagic stroke.

It is also recommended to avoid use of vitamin E supplements during the early stages of pregnancy as it has been shown to increase the risk of congenital heart defects.

One study found men using vitamin E supplements along with a multivitamin were at higher than average risk of developing prostate cancer.

Other side effects of excessive vitamin E include:

Dietary Sources Of Vitamin E

It’s a good idea to speak with your physician or naturopath before taking vitamin E supplements.

However, most experts agree that it’s difficult to overdose on dietary vitamin E.

If you are looking to add more vitamin E to your diet, some great sources of this important nutrient include:

  • Nuts, including almonds and hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Kiwifruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Mangos

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you looking for natural ways to improve your immune system?

Do you worry you aren’t getting enough nutrients in your diet?

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help.

Although we are not currently offering in-person consultations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still here to talk to you over the phone, or via a virtual consult.

Contact us today and take the first step towards better health.

Naturopathic Solutions To Ease Your COVID-19 Anxiety | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Naturopathic Solutions To Ease Your COVID-19 Anxiety

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Naturopathic Solutions To Ease Your COVID-19 Anxiety | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

Anxiety levels are higher than ever right now, due in no small part to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether it’s anxiety about oneself or a loved one contracting the disease or financial concerns due to a loss of income or the state of the stock market, there is a lot of anxiety to go around.

And as a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, I’d like to help ease some of it.

Keep reading to find a few natural solutions which might just help you sleep a little better at night.

What Is COVID-19?

There are a lot of terms related to this pandemic which you might have heard recently.

Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19.

Let’s take a minute to decipher what these mean.

Coronavirus is the type of virus we’re dealing with – there are many different variants of these viruses, and are responsible for a number of illnesses including the common cold, SARS, MERS, and yes, COVID-19.

SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the name of the virus which causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), as the outbreak was first identified in December 2019.

COVID-19 looks different in different people.

Some people can have it and show almost no symptoms.

In others, they can be more serious and include cough, difficulty breathing, fever, and pneumonia in the lungs.

Can Naturopathic Medicine Treat COVID-19?

Before we go on, we need to be very clear about one thing – at this time there is nonaturopathic treatmentwhich can cure or treat COVID-19.

If you suspect you, or someone you know, is sick with COVID-19 then it is extremely important to follow the guidelines set out by the Government of Canada, including self-isolation for 14 days, and consulting with your local health authority for further instruction.

What naturopathic medicine can offer during these trying times, though, are ways to help ease your anxiety.

Keep reading to learn more.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Help With Anxiety?

When we, as humans, face stressful events, a little bit of anxiety is quite normal.

However, when anxiety levels are high constantly, it can impede the ability to live normally.

Naturopathic approaches to anxiety can range from lifestyle changes to nutritional solutions and botanical medicine.

Today we will look closer at some botanical as well as nutritional solutions for anxiety.

Keep reading to find out more.

3 Botanical Medicine Solutions For Anxiety

Botanical medicines have been used by humans for thousands of years, and many of our modern drugs are based on these plant-based solutions.

In fact, medical doctors may suggest botanical medicines as well from time to time. Some of the more common botanicals you may have heard of with medicinal properties include:

Let’s explore some botanical medicine solutions for anxiety.

lavender is a naturopathic solutions for anxiety | Mindful Healing | Naturopathic Doctor Mississauga

1. Brahmi

Brahmi is a herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Its traditional uses include providing treatment for epilepsy, boosting memory, and reducing anxiety.

A 2014 study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found Brahmi to have positive effects on mood in study participants.

Additionally, it was found to lower cortisol levels, which indicates a physiological impact on stress and anxiety levels.

2. Lavender

A lot of people think of lavender as just a pretty, purple flower.

Many are also aware that its scent can promote relaxation and ease anxiety.

Oil derived from the lavender flower has been used for a long time in herbal medicine.

A study in the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology found patients with mild anxiety and depressive disorder who were treated with lavender oil showed better outcomes in terms of quality of life, and a better overall outcome.

Lavender can also be used as a natural treatment for tension headaches

3. Chamomile

Chamomile is a flower in the same family as the daisy, which is widely known for its calming effects.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology looked at the effects of chamomile in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.

It was observed that patients given chamomile had significantly greater reductions in anxiety compared to those who were given a placebo, however, more studies need to be done on this effect.

It’s been shown that chamomile can also be an effective way to manage the symptoms of ADHD.

3 Nutritional Solutions For Anxiety

In addition to botanical medicine, there are a number of nutritional factors which can impact anxiety.

Nutritional counselling and botanical medicine aren’t completely separate from either other, though.

After all, some of the botanicals with health-promoting properties – like apples, beets, and avocados – also happen to be foods.

In this section, we’ll review some important nutrients to include in your diet to help control anxious thoughts and feelings.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral which plays a role in the functioning of nearly every system of the body.

In 2000 the journal Psychopharmacology looked at the effects of a multivitamin which included calcium, zinc, and magnesium on healthy male volunteers.

When compared to those given placebo, study participants who received the multi-vitamin showed statistically significant reductions in perceived stress levels and anxiety.

One reason magnesium, in particular, may help lessen anxiety is that it has been shown to improve brain function – it has a role in regulating neurotransmitters and neurological health.

Foods high in magnesium include quinoa, spinach, dark chocolate, cashews, almonds, and black beans.

Magnesium is also useful for promoting bone health, and kidney health, and controlling PMS symptoms, among other things.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are important to brain health.

As they can’t be synthesized by the body, it’s important for people to ensure they get them as part of their diet.

A 2018 review of 19 different clinical trials supported the hypothesis that Omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective way to provide treatment for clinical anxiety.

They’ve also been shown to be useful for a number of other health conditions, including managing autism spectrum disorder, depression, poor gut health, and as an adjunctive therapy during medical cancer treatment

Foods high in omega-3s include:

  • Fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel
  • Seaweed
  • Chia, hemp, and flaxseeds
  • Edamame
  • Walnuts

It should be noted that omega-3 fatty acids can interfere with some medications, so it’s important to speak with your doctor or naturopath before starting to take a new supplement.

3. The B-Complex Of Vitamins

B-complex vitamins are important for many different roles in the body, including the management of stress levels.

A study in the Journal of Biomedical and Clinical Research found participants with low levels of vitamin B12 in particular, were more likely to also have depression or anxiety.

Additionally, a 2018 study in the Journal of Functional Foods found individuals who ate a diet high in foods containing B-vitamins had lower stress and anxiety scores than those who didn’t.

Foods high in B-complex vitamins include yogurt, cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast, and fortified cereals.

Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are your anxiety levels at an all-time high right now?

Do you need some help coming up with a plan to help take back control over your thoughts?

Here at the Mindful Healing clinic, we want to help.

Although our doors are currently closed for in-person visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still offering virtual and phone consultations for essential treatments.

We are here to help you through this difficult time – contact us today for more information.