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

Vitamin Profile: Vitamin C

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

A, B, C, D…

Are you singing the alphabet song, or trying to keep track of the vitamins required to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle?

It can be overwhelming at times, but today we will have a closer look at one of these vitamins – vitamin C – as well as when you might want to consider nutritional counseling with a naturopathic doctor.

It’s important to make sure your body is getting ALL the vitamins you need to thrive.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, which means it can’t be produced by the body. This means you need to get it from somewhere else – typically your diet or supplementing.

It’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body can absorb it without having to take it along with fats.

Today we’ll look at what can happen if you don’t get enough vitamin C, the roles it plays in the body, as well as dietary sources of this important nutrient.

What Does Vitamin C Deficiency Look Like?

Vitamin C is found in many of the foods and fruits and vegetables we eat today, and as such, vitamin C deficiency is rare, but has not completely disappeared.

A 2007 article presented in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice reviewed a case of vitamin C deficiency in a 65 year old man, which resulted in scurvy.

The man had signs of bruising even though he reported no history of traumatic injury, poor oral health, and skin disease.

Other symptoms of scurvy include:

● Anemia
● Pain
● Swelling
● Bleeding under the skin
● Wounds which heal at a slower than normal rate
● Shortness of breath
● Depression

Although it’s rarely seen in the modern world, knowing the signs of scurvy is still important, so it can be diagnosed when it does occur.

Dietary Sources Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a large number of fruits and vegetables.

Despite this, there are many adults not getting enough vitamin C in their diet.

To up your vitamin C intake, consider adding the following to your diet:

● Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit
● Green pepper
● Tomatoes
● Strawberry
● White Potatoes and sweet potatoes
● Raspberries and blueberries
● Pineapple
● Mango
● Brussels sprouts

foods high in vitamin C | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Why Is Vitamin C So Important?

Vitamin C has a number of health benefits.

Read along as we explore the role vitamin C plays in the body.

1. It’s A Powerful Antioxidant

You’ve probably heard of antioxidants, and have an idea that they’re good for you, but what exactly do they do?

Antioxidants help to protect against damage from free radicals (unstable atoms which can damage cells), pollutants, and toxic chemicals.

Left unchecked, free radicals can build up and contribute to cancer and heart disease.

2. It Helps Your White Blood Cells Work Better

It’s fairly widely known that vitamin C can help boost immunity – but how exactly does it do this?

Firstly, vitamin C helps promote the formation of white blood cells, which help fight infections in the body.

Secondly, vitamin C helps white blood cells function more effectively and protects them from harmful chemicals such as free radicals.

And third, vitamin C helps to strengthen skin barriers.

Taking vitamin C can help wounds to heal faster than they otherwise would.

3. May Help With High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a growing issue for Canadians over the age of 50.

It can increase the risk of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death across the world.

A 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found in short-term trials, supplementation with vitamin C resulted in reductions in blood pressure.

It is important to note although there are short-term effects of vitamin C on blood pressure, the long-term effects are still unknown.

Further, those with high blood pressure should not rely solely on vitamin C for treatment of this condition.

4. May Help You Manage Your Stress

People who suffer from a lot of stress may have weakened immune systems as a result.

There are many naturopathic ways to relieve stress, one of which is vitamin C.

It has been shown individuals with high levels of vitamin C are less subject to the psychological and physical signs of stress, and rebound faster from stressful situations.

5. Improves Your Absorption Of Iron – Especially For Vegetarians

Another nutrient which is very important for the functioning of the body is iron.

It is important for the formation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen through the bloodstream.

Although there are many sources from which we can obtain iron, some are absorbed better than others by our bodies, and often plant-based sources don’t absorb as easily as meat-based sources.

A 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found ascorbic acid (another name for vitamin C) positively influenced iron absorption.

6. May Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death for Canadians, according to Statistic Canada.

Vitamin C may be linked to reduction in risk factors of heart disease, and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol.

There may be a link between lowered heart disease and primarily getting vitamin C from food sources rather than supplements.

However this may also be because people who consume vitamin C rich foods have a healthier lifestyle overall than those who use supplements, so this link needs to be studied further.

Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you worried you aren’t getting enough vitamin C – or any other vitamin or nutrient in your diet?

Do you worry about the nutritional choices you’re making for yourself and your family – perhaps you’re worried you are missing out on an important vitamin or mineral.

The Mindful Healing clinic can help – contact us today for a consultation to ensure that you’re getting the full, balanced and complete nutrition you need to thrive in today’s busy world.

Having Irregular Periods? Here's What May Be Causing It | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Having Irregular Periods? Here’s What May Be Causing It

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Having Irregular Periods? Here's What May Be Causing It | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

For some women, their periods are like clockwork.

And if it doesn’t come when you’re expecting it, it can be a cause of anxiety.

The most common thought when this happens for many is “could I be pregnant?” however, this is just one reason someone may be experiencing an irregular period.

There are a number of factors which could cause irregular periods, and pregnancy is just the tip of the iceberg.

Keep reading to learn more about reasons your period may be irregular, and contact the Mindful Healing clinic if you are looking for naturopathic solutions for menstrual health.

1. Pregnancy

As we previously mentioned, pregnancy is one reason for someone to experience irregular periods.

If your irregular period is also accompanied by nausea, morning sickness, tender breasts, or sensitivity to smells, it might be time to pick up a home pregnancy test, or see your doctor.

2. A Thyroid Disorder

A 1997 study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science looked at the effects of both hyper- and hypothyroidism on menstruation.

Thyroid disorders can lead to longer, heavier periods or shorter, lighter periods, depending on what the issue is.

An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, can result in longer, heavier periods, while an overactive thyroid may lead to shorter, lighter periods.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you may have a thyroid issue, you can contact your naturopathic doctor to discuss which thyroid solutions might be right for you.

3. Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are tumors which can develop in the uterine wall.

Although generally non-cancerous, they can also lead to pelvic pain, low back pain, and pain during sex.

They can range from tiny – the size of an apple seed, to as large as a grapefruit.

4. Obesity

Being overweight can have an effect on the regularity of one’s period.

Obesity can affect insulin levels which can lead to irregular periods.

In 2015 the Mymensingh Medical Journal looked at the effect of obesity on the menstrual cycle of young girls.

A strong association was found between obesity and menstrual cycle irregularity.

help for irregular periods | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5. Excessive Weight Loss

Just as being overweight can affect your period, so can extreme weight loss.

Eating disorders can lead to not consuming enough calories to support ovulation.

If you are underweight or have lost a large amount of weight without trying to, these can affect your period and it’s important to see your doctor.

6 Chronic Stress

Stress has been shown to impact the menstrual cycle, as it can interfere with the portion of the brain which regulates hormones.

Some stress is a normal part of life. However, if you feel stress is negatively impacting your menstrual cycle, or other areas of your life or health, you may want to consider implementing some stress management techniques into your routine.

A 2014 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology found women who scored higher on measures of dispositional resilience were less likely to have irregular menstrual cycles when faced with low or medium stress situations.

7. Early Onset Menopause

Typically, menopause begins in one’s late 40s, however sometimes it can begin earlier than that.

Perimenopause is the time where the ovaries produce less estrogen, and although typically this starts during one’s 40s, sometimes it occurs earlier.

Signs of perimenopause may include:

● Hot flashes
● Night sweats
● Trouble sleeping
● Changes in mood
● Vaginal dryness

8. Hormonal Imbalance

In our earlier article this month on hormonal imbalance we noted a large number of signs which could indicate a shift in hormones, including:

● Moodiness
● Brain fog
Chronic fatigue
● Headaches
● Weight fluctuations

These symptoms combined with irregular periods may be a sign of hormonal imbalance, and a good reason to see one’s doctor or naturopath.

9. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition which can affect an individual’s hormone levels.

PCOS results in higher-than-average production of testosterone, and can result in skipped periods, difficulty in conceiving a child, hair growth on the face, as well as long-term issues such as diabetes and heart disease.

A 2017 study in the International Journal of Cancer found the risk of ovarian cancer in women with irregular menstrual cycles was decreased with the use of oral contraceptives.

10. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue which lines the uterus instead grows outside of the uterus.

It can lead to painful, debilitating menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding and bleeding between periods.

It is estimated that 1 in 10 women of reproductive age will be affected by endometriosis.

Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic

Is your menstrual cycle irregular?

Perhaps it’s a sudden change – you used to know when your period was coming like clockwork, and now it’s harder to determine when it will come.

You’ve ruled out your first thought – the idea that you might be pregnant, and now you can’t figure out what is going on.

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help – contact us today for a consultation, and let’s get to the bottom of your period problems.

Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Women | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Women

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Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Women | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Mood swings, cravings and bloating.

Many women are familiar with these experiences.

But did you know these may be linked to a hormone imbalance?

It’s true, these signs may be traced to the monthly hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. They may also be linked with pregnancy or menopause.

However, sometimes hormone fluctuations may be the result of something else. It could be an ongoing medical condition, or certain medications.

These may create ongoing symptoms which can interfere with day-to-day life.

Today we’ll look at some of the signs of hormone imbalance in women.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, and can’t figure out the reason, you may want to consider reaching out to a naturopathic doctor for some solutions for hormonal imbalance.

Keep reading to learn what to look out for to determine if you may have a hormonal imbalance.

1. Moodiness

You’re likely familiar with changes in mood which come with getting your period.

Even if you haven’t personally experienced this, there are countless stereotypes of women becoming depressed, irritable, or experiencing mood swings when they have their periods.

This is because some people are affected more deeply by changes in hormone levels, and of estrogen levels in particular. If these changes last beyond your period, however, it could indicate a hormone imbalance.

2. Brain Fog

“Brain fog” is not a medical term. But you can probably tell what it means just by looking at it.

Brain fog refers to difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and an overall lack of mental clarity.

Brain fog is commonly connected with a lack of sleep. But if it becomes persistent, it could be a sign of a hormone imbalance.

Often, it’s linked with the decreased estrogen levels in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal individuals.

3. Irregular Periods

The average menstrual cycle lasts 21 to 35 days. Due to the fact that the menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, irregular periods can be caused by hormone imbalances.

A 2018 study in the journal BMC Women’s Health showed other factors such as smoking, obesity, and stress were also associated with irregular menstrual cycles.

Menstrual issues are important indicators of women’s health and should not be ignored. If you’re experiencing painful, irregular, or heavy periods, discuss them with your doctor.

4. Vaginal Dryness

Decreased levels of estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness. This can result in thinner vaginal walls and pain during sexual intercourse.

A doctor may prescribe synthetic hormones to combat these symptoms. However, this may be connected with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and some cancers for some individuals.

Speak to your naturopathic doctor to explore your options related to vaginal dryness.

How women can tell if they have hormonal imbalances | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5. Chronic Fatigue

Everyone gets tired from time to time. It’s a sign your body is ready for rest. If you’ve been pulling late nights to finish that big project, or just started on an intense new workout regime, it’s normal.

However, those types of tiredness are acute – situational fatigue due to a specific cause.

If you find yourself feeling exhausted for no particular reason, you are likely suffering from chronic fatigue.

This may be caused by hormone imbalances, which can be diagnosed with a blood test.

6. Decreased Libido

Although testosterone is typically thought of as a male hormone, it exists in women as well. And low amounts of it can be linked to reports of low sex drive.

A 2016 study in the journal Hormones and Behavior showed testosterone therapy can increase sexual desire in women.

7. Acne

Acne is something most of us wish we could have left back in high school.

Sadly, that’s not always the case.

You may experience acne breakouts before, during, and after your period. But if you’re dealing with chronic acne, it may be a hormonal imbalance beyond your menstrual fluctuations.

In particular, it may be linked to an excess in testosterone. This can lead to excess oil production, which clogs pores and results in acne.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology showed there is a higher prevalence of acne in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder.

8. Headaches

Although there can be many things which trigger headaches, one common cause can be a decrease in estrogen levels.

Many women will experience headaches with their period, and this is a likely explanation for them.

Although over-the-counter medications will be enough for many people, sometimes a doctor may prescribe other medications to help with headaches.

9. Infertility

A common reason some women may have difficulty becoming pregnant has to do with infertility caused by hormonal imbalances.

The journal Nursing Clinics of North America looked at the role of hormones in infertile couples, and the role of hormone therapy to support ovulation.

Quite often, naturopathic medicine can help with infertility due to hormone imbalances.

10. Weight Fluctuations

Women who are going through menopause often find it difficult to lose weight. This is due to hormonal changes in their bodies, including lack of estrogen.

These changes, along with a slowing metabolism can lead to increased fat storage, making weight loss difficult.

If you are having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, consider contacting a naturopathic doctor for natural weight loss solutions.

Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you worried you may have hormone imbalances?

Are you having trouble losing weight, difficulty concentrating, or having acne breakouts?

Perhaps your sex life is being impacted by vaginal dryness and a decreased libido.

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation, and let us help you get things back on track.

5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

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5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Last time, we took a look at five foods to avoid in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and some alternatives to reach for instead.

But there are far more than five foods you should avoid.

As a naturopathic nutritional counselor, it’s my job to help you understand what to eat, and what not to eat.

Today we’re going to look at five more common foods which you may want to reconsider as part of your diet.

Keep reading to find out what they are.

1. Movie Theatre Popcorn Butter

There’s something about going to the movies which makes people want popcorn.

This tasty treat, long associated with theatres, may be a tradition, but it’s a tradition you might want to reconsider.

Why It’s Bad

Movie theatre popcorn is incredibly high in calories.

A small bag can have as much as 225 calories – and that’s without even adding butter.

And even the butter isn’t really butter. Most theatres use a partially-hydrogenated oil made from soybeans. This oil contains about 130 calories per serving and high amounts of trans-fats.

Of course it doesn’t stop there. Most people getting salty popcorn will want something to wash it down with, and the accompanying soda adds much more sugar to the equation. See last month’s article on foods to avoid for more about sugary drinks.

Combine this with the fact that it’s easy to overeat in a dark theatre where you can’t see how much you’re having, and you’re distracted by the film and it’s easy to eat an entire days’ worth of calories in one sitting.

What To Eat Instead

The best option is to bring your own healthy snacks to the theatre. But maybe you forgot, or they caught you in line and made you throw your snack out.

In this case, you’ll probably find yourself at the concessions counter anyways. Recognizing none of the options in a theatre are going to be great for you, some are better than others.

Chewy candies which take longer to eat are a good option, since it’s harder to get through a whole pack in one sitting. Consider options like Twizzlers or Starburst for this reason, but be aware these treats are also high in sugar.

2. Processed Cheese

In moderation, cheese is a great food. It contains calcium and protein. But not all cheese is created equal.

Why It’s Bad

Did you know processed cheese slices aren’t allowed to be called real cheese?

Instead they get the label “cheese products” because of the chemicals, additives, and preservatives they contain.

What To Eat Instead

This one is pretty simple. When you want to eat cheese, stick to real cheese, including feta, mozzarella, and cottage cheese.

If dairy is a concern, there are many vegan options on the market. They’re getting better and better as well, as more people seek to include less dairy in their diets.

If it’s calcium intake on your mind, there are lots of non-dairy options. These include leafy greens such as kale and spinach, or foods like almonds, tofu, and oranges.

more kinds of unhealthy foods to stay away from | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

3. Pizza

You may have heard that pizza is the perfect food. After all, it contains all the major food groups – breads, dairy, meat, and veggies.

Many people are proponents of cold pizza for breakfast. And let’s face it, it’s a quick and easy meal when you’re in a rush.

But pizza isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

Why It’s Bad

Most pizza dough is made from white bread. It ranks high on the glycemic index.

This is a value which is given to food based on how quickly they increase blood sugar levels. The higher a food is on this index, the faster it releases sugar into the bloodstream.

Increased levels of blood sugar over a long enough timeline can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, for those with diabetes, this increase in blood sugar can result in not having enough insulin available.

What To Eat Instead

Don’t panic – you don’t have to give up pizza altogether.

Look for restaurants which offer higher quality and healthy ingredients, such as a whole wheat crust.

Making your own pizza at home can also be satisfying. Not only do you have complete control over which toppings go on it, but also you have control over what goes into the crust.

4. Gluten-Free Junk Food

More and more people are trying to avoid gluten these days. And that’s not a bad thing.

Whatever the reason, gluten-free lifestyles are on the rise. Along with them, is the sale of gluten-free snacks.

Why It’s Bad

Gluten isn’t the only bad thing in junk food. You might take it out, but that doesn’t make it healthy.

These alternatives are often filled with refined grains and high in sugar. As a result, eating them can trigger spikes in blood sugar. They’re also often low in nutrients.

Also, gluten serves as a binding agent. It holds your bread and cookies together. That’s why gluten-free buns are often so crumbly.

But when you take the gluten out, you have to replace it with something. Usually, that ends up being either potato starch or tapioca starch. And these aren’t great options either.

What To Eat Instead

If eating gluten is an issue for you, look for naturally gluten-free foods.

Potential naturally gluten-free snacks to reach for include:
● Gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, and buckwheat
● Fresh fruits and vegetables
● Legumes
● Nuts and seeds
● Cottage cheese
● Yogurt

5. Diet Soft Drinks

So you know sugary drinks aren’t the best choice, and maybe you’re thinking “I’ll just drink diet soda instead”. Not so fast.

Why It’s Bad

A 2017 study in the journal Research in Nursing and Health found subjects who consumed diets high in aspartame to be more irritable, and show more signs of depression.

Do you think trading out your regular pop with a diet version will help you lose weight?

A 2017 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found no evidence that diet soft drinks had any effect on weight loss.

What To Eat Instead

Feeling thirsty? Stick to low or no sugar options such as water, coffee, or tea. If you crave something bubbly, sparkling waters can be a great choice.

Call The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you trying to eat healthier? Are you dealing with food restrictions which make meal-planning tough? Or are you concerned about high blood pressure, cholesterol, or obesity, in yourself or a loved one?

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help. Contact us today to learn more about our nutritional services.

5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

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5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

As a naturopathic doctor, I regularly see the proof as to why having a healthy diet and eating the right foods is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Knowing what to eat and what to avoid, though, can be tricky.

And no wonder it’s so confusing. There’s conflicting information everywhere you go. So-called healthy options are anything but. Fat doesn’t make you fat? And fat-free options can make you fatter? What’s going on?

On top of this, there are all sorts of so-called experts telling us what we should and shouldn’t eat. But what does the science say?

Today, we’ll break down some of the worst foods for your health, why they’re so bad, and give you alternatives to reach for instead.

Keep reading to learn more about 5 common foods which you should avoid.

1. White Bread

Although a favourite for many children, and a staple of the classic “PB&J”, white bread is something which should be avoided.

Why It’s Bad

White bread is highly processed. It’s made from refined flour, which is lacking many essential nutrients. It’s also low in fibre – one of the benefits of bread.

Because of its low fibre content, white bread is rapidly digested which can lead to spikes in blood sugar.

What To Eat Instead

When looking for the essential building-blocks of your next sandwich, ditch the white stuff. Instead, reach for whole-grain bread.

An even better option is sprouted grain bread. Ezekiel bread is a popular brand of sprouted grain bread you may have seen at your local health food store.

2. Agave Nectar

Agave is often marketed as a “healthier” alternative to honey. This is because it has less sugar, calories, and carbohydrates than honey per serving.

Also, it contains some vitamins and minerals which honey doesn’t, such as vitamins E and K.

But though it has its benefits, it’s not the healthy alternative many make it out to be.

Why It’s Bad

A 2012 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looked at the nutritional profile of 19 different agave syrups.

The study found agave to be incredibly high in fructose. It has a concentration of nearly 85%. By comparison, even high-fructose corn syrup is only 55%. And it has “high fructose” in the name.

What To Eat Instead

There are natural and low-and-no calorie sweeteners you can reach for, to get added sweetness without the calories. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol which has only 6% of the calories of sugar, but 70% of the sweetness. Another great option is stevia, which comes from a plant – and could even be grown in your home.

Avoid these types of unhealthy foods | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

3. Sugary Drinks

This one won’t come as a surprise to most people. Drinks filled with added sugar, such as juice and soft drinks, are not the best option for hydration.

Why They’re Bad

A 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health reviewed the effects of soft drink consumption on public health.

They found a clear link between the consumption of soft drinks and increased body weight. In other words, the more soft drinks you have, the more likely you are to be overweight.

When you get your calories through juices and soft drinks, your body doesn’t register them the same way as it does solid food calories. As a result, it’s easy to drink far more calories than you realized.

Sugar intake is also linked to insulin resistance, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.

What To Eat Instead

The best thing you can drink is pure water. But drinking nothing but water all the time can get boring.

Adding fruit to water can add flavour. You may have seen lemon or cucumber water offered at your favourite spa. Soda water is a great option for people who still want a little “fizz”.

Coffee and tea can be great options as well. Just watch how much sugar you are adding and do not add sugar or artificial sweeteners.

4. Low Fat Yogurt

Some types of yogurt can be very good for you. But just because it has“low fat” on the label doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Fat is not a bad thing. Healthy fats are an important component of a balanced diet, but many of us have been led to believe fat is the enemy.

Why They’re Bad

Often times, when yogurt is low fat, it means extra sugar has been added to improve the flavour. While natural fats are healthy and an important part of a balanced diet, sugar is something which should be avoidedlimited. Also, in pasteurized yogurt, much of the beneficial bacteria which can be vital for a healthy gut has been killed off.

What To Eat Instead

This one is easy – skip the low fat yogurt in favour of full-fat yogurt which contains probiotics. Look for yogurts made with milk from grass-fed cows, and compare the labels for sugar content; it is better to get plain yogurt with no added sugar and add some fruit. If getting enough protein is an issue for you, consider Greek yogurt as well.

5. Processed Meats

For those who choose to include meat in their diet, there are options to choose from. One of the important options is whether to buy processed or unprocessed meat. Processed meats have been shown to be unhealthy in many ways.

Why They’re Bad

There are a wide variety of studies which show the undesirable health effects of processed meat.

A 2005 study showed a link between consumption of cured meats and high blood pressure.

Another study, from 2010 showed a link between processed meat and heart disease.

Processed meat was shown to be linked to a 42% higher risk of heart disease.

Finally, a 2005 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a positive association between consumption of processed meat and colorectal cancer.

What To Eat Instead

Avoid processed meats as much as possible. The evidence is clear they’re horrible for you.

If you absolutely can’t live without things like bacon and sausage though, at least get them from your local butcher or farmer’s market. They generally use fewer additives and provide healthier options.

Call The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you worried about the food you’re eating?

Do you need some guidance to help you choose the best foods to fuel your body?

Are you concerned about high blood pressure, cholesterol, or obesity?.

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our nutritional services.

How To Improve Your Gut Health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

How To Improve Your Gut Health

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How To Improve Your Gut Health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

The human body is truly a wondrous thing – scientists, doctors and researchers are still making major discoveries all the time, constantly improving our understanding about how it functions.

It’s complicated – and the gut turns out to be one of the most complicated functions – which is why it’s good to have a digestive health naturopath in your back pocket.

Why Is Your Gut Important?

Although doctors once thought it was merely a food processing organ, it turns out your gut has an impact on numerous other systems, including the immune system and autoimmune diseases, mental health and mood, skin conditions, endocrine disorders and even cancer.

Your gut microbiome is where all the magic happens: it’s where 300 to 500 different species of bacteria live, all throughout your gastrointestinal system.

Some of these bacteria aren’t friendly; most – however – are not just beneficial, they are necessary.

How To Tell If Your Gut Is Unhealthy

If it’s that important, it should be cared for carefully and kept under a watchful eye for signs of strength or distress.

Here are some ways you can tell if you might have an unhealthy biome.

1. You Eat A Lot Of Sugar

Sugar has been linked as the most dangerous factor causing cancer, possibly because of the inflammation it causes.

Processed foods and added sugars reduce the good bacteria in your biome, and this imbalance can, in turn, lead to increased sugar cravings.

In the end, you need only remember that sugar is hazardous to good bacteria, and that bacteria is a huge part of what’s keeping you healthy.

2. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

People often wonder why they’re experiencing poor sleep, chronic fatigue or even insomnia, and they rarely consider their gut in answering that question.

However, serotonin is manufactured in the gut, and it’s responsible for mood and sleep – so a healthy gut will absolutely predispose you to a good sleep.

3. You’re Gaining Or Losing Weight Unexpectedly

If you’ve noticed a change in your weight that can’t be attributed to a change in either exercise routine or diet, then you may have a gut issue.

If you’re losing weight, it could be caused by SIBO, which stands for “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth”.

If you’re gaining weight, it might be due to insulin resistance – this is when your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients from your food properly, and it causes you to want to overeat to try to replace them.

4. You Have Eczema

Skin conditions such as eczema are often a sign of damage to the gut.

This could be caused by inflammation: poor diet or food allergies that irritate the skin.

5. You Have An Autoimmune Condition

Autoimmune conditions are being studied from a perspective of gut health, and researchers have been successful in finding evidence that they are interconnected.

We’ve talked about inflammation caused by poor gut health, and this inflammation can alter how your immune system works, causing the body to attack itself instead of the actual harmful stuff.

things that improve your digestive health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

How To Improve Your Gut Health

Improving your gut health doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it does require some lifestyle changes.

1. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Most importantly, start by cutting out sugars and also artificial sweeteners .

These often hide in processed foods, not just desserts or candy, so make sure you keep an eye on your food labels.

2. Breastfeed Your Baby

One of the many benefits a breastfed baby will enjoy is a solid foundation to a healthy gut biome.

Their microbiota don’t start to actually develop until after they are out of the womb, and formula has altered microbiota in it, meaning the infants develop the beneficial Bifidobacteria poorly.

From this perspective, it’s never too long to breastfeed, as well: their biome is developing continually for the first two years of their life, so any amount of breast milk will help.

Here’s why it’s great for them: breastfeeding has been linked with a reduction in allergies, obesity, and other diseases whose foundation is gut bacteria.

3. Eat A Diverse, Plant-Based Diet

It probably won’t surprise you at all to learn that animal-based diets or foods result in different intestinal bacteria than vegetarian or vegan foods.

One of the reasons so many people move to plant-based diets is because of the amazing physical results they enjoy – vegetarian diets have been proven to
benefit your gut biome, while cooked meats can actually cause disease.

Studies show that the vegetarian diet helps reduce inflammation, cholesterol and weight; it also leads to reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria.

4. Eat Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods

Prebiotics and probiotics are different things: probiotics are the live bacteria that you ingest through food, while prebiotics are the foods that you eat that are also food to beneficial gut bacteria, allowing them to thrive.

By eating these foods or taking supplements, you can improve your gut health, but if you go with supplements, be sure to do your research, because not all are as effective.

Also, folks with bacterial overgrowth should not take probiotics.

This is why it’s easiest to simply consume them: kimchi, kombucha, natto, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or others.

5. Pay Attention To Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle is the more complicated of the changes needed for gut health, but it’s an extremely impactful one.

Even though gut health can impact sleep, it needs that very same sleep to stay in balance, so try to figure out a way to get enough rest.

Chronic stress is very hard on your gut, even though you may feel it more predominantly in another area of your body (shoulders, back, neck, head).

Lower stress by walking, meditation, social time with family, or decreasing your caffeine intake.

Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic

We acknowledge that gut health is a very complicated issue, and it’s why we’re subject matter experts in this – because so many of our clients come to us for help with it.

Call now to book your consultation with The Mindful Healing Clinic, and we’ll have a look at your lifestyle, your diet, and we’ll tailor a plan specifically around what works best for you.