Healthy Fats

Nuts About Coconuts (Oil)

What makes coconut oil unique? At a temperature of 76 degrees or higher, it is liquid and the high saturated fatty acid content causes it to turn solid when it is colder.

Are saturated fats dangerous for your arteries? Consider the fact that our body temperatures are about 98.6. This means that coconut oil is liquid at that temperature so could not clog arteries. This is beside the fact that all fats are broken down into small bits before they are absorbed from the digestive tract. So, you don’t need to worry about natural fats, only processed or fried fats.

Coconut oil is healthy for the gut, the brain, and the skin. It will help arrest and prevent Alzheimer’s and it improves cholesterol and assists with loss of belly fat and weight.

Can you think of any other oil or fat that has the same benefits? Although there are many healthy fats, such as flax oil, olive oil, and butter, coconut oil may be one of the smartest choices.

We are learning more about the needs of a healthy brain. Alzheimer’s is considered to be Diabetes Type 3. The good news is that this gives us a prevention and treatment path. Keep blood sugar in balance, limit the various forms of sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, and refined sugar, and protect your brain function. The brain operates well using ketones, instead of sugar, for fuel. Ketones are produced in the liver from fats, only when sugar consumption is low.

Many people have mentioned that their memory seems to be getting worse, or they feel foggy. Decreasing sugar and starchy carbs, and increasing good fats like coconut oil would be worth trying as a remedy.

Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids. There are four different types of fat in coconut oil, and each has benefits. Lauric acid is a fat that may help balance hormones, with benefits for men and women.

The medium chain fatty acids seem to be processed differently in the body, so they encourage lean muscle and fat loss. Belly fat may be reduced with long-term consumption. Keep in mind that you have to reduce sugar and starches to enjoy this benefit.

MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides) has been making the news in the Paleo world for making bullet-proof coffee. MCT is processed coconut oil, so it is missing some of the all-around benefits of raw unrefined coconut oil. Is MCT better for lean muscle? Check out the bullet-proof website to see what they have to say, but be sure to use high quality no matter if you want to try it. Here is a more complete description of the benefits of MCT.

A high-fat low-carb diet was used at Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat epilepsy in children with dramatic results. High-fat low-carb has been used to starve cancer cells, and may be an exciting alternative for treating brain tumors.

Bacteria does not seem to like the fats in coconut oil, so it is good for the immune system and for gut healing if you have already taken too many antibiotics, or suffer from gastric distress. Inflammation is naturally reduced with the fats in coconut oil. Again, reducing sugar consumption is key. Also, experiment with reducing dairy and wheat/grains, which seem to be inflammatory for many people.

As you can see the list goes on and on. Adding coconut oil to your morning smoothie, spreading it on veggies, or using it for cooking, has internal benefits. As a hair and skin conditioner, coconut oil is healing and moisturizing for every member of the family from a babe in diapers to acne-prone teens, and age-conscious adults.

Coconut water and cream can also be a healthy addition to your diet. I use grass-fed butter and coconut cream in my tea and coffee for a delicious alternative to dairy. I learned to drink tea with milk when I lived in England and none of the milk alternatives did the trick for me. But coconut creamer and butter make the tea taste just right.

If you have been using canola oil, or other vegetable oils, it is time for an oil change. Coconut oil is better than butter or olive oil for higher temperature cooking.

But the real benefits come from using raw, organic coconut oil. Enjoy it on skin and hair for its beauty benefits, or add it to your diet for its health benefits. Inside or outside, you can go nuts for coconuts.









Staying Strong For Men

When women age, we can talk about it freely because women are allowed to be concerned about their hormonal changes, their faces, and figures.  For men, the problems of aging may be just as concerning, but not so easily discussed.

Just like women, men have a need for hormone balance. The adrenal glands (those tiny but mighty glands sitting above the kidneys) make the steroid hormones that allow us to run faster in danger, monitor libido, and determine energy levels. Men and women both make hormones out of cholesterol. Then the cascade of hormones proceeds into progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen is lowest on the hormone chain, and estrogen is formed from testosterone.

An enzyme called aromatase causes the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Aromatase can surge when too much sugar, alcohol or refined carbohydrate is consumed, spiking blood sugar. As more fat accumulates around breasts (man boobs) and belly, the fat can also produce estrogen, adding to the problem.

All cells in the body have hormone receptors on them. For men, testosterone should be more dominantly parked in the cells. If there is too much estrogen, then the male sexual characteristics diminish. Muscles turn to fat and the prostate can enlarge. Too much circulating estrogen is a risk for prostate cancer.

Higher amounts of circulating estrogen increase risk of stroke.  Estrogen dominance, which is the ratio of estrogen to testosterone, is a risk for heart attack and thicker arteries. Low testosterone levels can be associated with depression and anxiety.

Statin drugs decrease cholesterol, which in turn can decrease testosterone levels. This may lead to Erectile Dysfunction caused by low testosterone. Statin drugs have also been associated with higher risk of Diabetes Type II. Sufficient healthy fats in the blood keep blood sugar levels more balanced.

You can monitor your testosterone levels through blood or Salvia hormone testing. Another simple way is to have a zinc taste test. Adequate zinc is needed for testosterone. We offer all of these tests at Well Body Clinic.

We also have herbal DHEA and testosterone boosters, in cream and tablet form that will encourage the body to make more testosterone. A detox program for weight loss, or a Blood Sugar balance program, will help you kick the carb habit, stop the snack cravings, drop weight and lose the excess belly fat.

Lifestyle choices may influence your testosterone levels. Avoid excess alcohol, sugar and grains. Eat sufficient protein, but make sure it is digested well; so digestive enzymes can be used. Get plenty of cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels Sprouts to help the liver metabolize excess estrogen. Get moderate exercise and sufficient sleep. (Maybe Mom was right all along.)

No matter what kind of a job you have, life itself is an Olympic event and those who train for it usually come out ahead of the crowd. Breaking old habits is never easy until the new habits have replaced them.

For Father’s Day, and every day, stay strong and ready for the next event. Healthy guys are sexier. And out-running your kids is always satisfying.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great men in our lives.














Are You Drinking Skim Milk?

Did you know that full-fat dairy products are healthier for you in every respect? When the fat is reduced dairy products become processed. Nature intended dairy to have fat in it to balance the sugars and proteins in the milk. One of the best ways to avoid obesity and Type II Diabetes is to keep a balance between carbs, sugars, proteins and healthy fats.

And did you know that skim milk is about profit, not your waistline or health? The reason that dairies began to promote skim milk was so they could skim the cream off the top of the milk and sell it at a greater profit.

Some of the most vital nutrients are in the fat/cream, not the milk left over after skimming. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins. This means these vitamins are carried in the fat. Maybe one of the reasons so many people are Vitamin D deficient is because few people are eating cream anymore

Of course, how cows are raised makes a great difference in the quality of the milk to begin with. Growth hormones and antibiotics added to feed enter the milk, as well as pesticides and chemicals the cows might come into contact with.

So, your best choice is always organic dairy products. Look for raw cheeses, not the cheap colored cheeses that resemble more plastic than food.

The saturated fat in milk is more satisfying, helps balance blood sugar, and may help with weight loss. Low-fat foods have never contributed to healthy weight or weight loss. Consider all the low-fat foods manufactured and consumed in the past thirty years, and compare that to the epidemic of obesity and Type II Diabetes we have in the Western world.

A new study published in American Heart Association journal Circulation followed 3000 participants suggested that full-fat dairy contributed to lower levels of Diabetes and better weight management. (The Full-Fat Paradox: Dairy Fat Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk. (2016).

Should you drink milk or eat dairy at all? It is estimated that 75% of the human adult population can tolerate dairy, and few people are actually allergic to dairy. So dairy intolerance may be linked to the quality and origin of the dairy, or to digestive weaknesses. I often see that patients with congested gall bladders and over-stressed livers have difficulty with dairy. And people who have difficulty with grain digestion will often have difficulty with dairy as well. But I see very little actual lactose-intolerance.

Yogurt is a mixed bag, as well. Again, look for organic dairy with no added sugar and flavor it yourself with fruit or stevia. Whey protein is different from casein or lactose, and may be well tolerated by many. Look for whey that says “non-denatured”, so that the protein is usable in the body. Whey helps the liver to make a powerful substance called glutathione, which is vital for detoxification processes.

I was able to get certified organic raw milk, cheese and yogurt delivered in glass bottles to our home in England. We owned a share in a local organic farm, and this was idyllic for my growing children. I also was able to recommend this milk for babies who had eczema, and often it would clear up quickly. If you have access to raw organic dairy products, try them and see if you can tolerate them better than the dairy you have been eating.

So, enjoy the wonderful taste of whole fat dairy, and know that you are doing your health, and your waistline, a favor.






Are You Coffee Conflicted?

 Procaffinator-someone who has a tendency not start anything without a cup of coffee.

Devil or Angel-coffee is one of the most controversial beverages for health-minded people. Hard core purists scoff that coffee could have any benefits, citing the fact it dehydrates the body and is loaded with caffeine. But there is a tendency for a few to contend any food that is pleasurable cannot be good for you.

As a Nutritionist/Naturopath who comes from the “Real food is yummy food and the more organic butter the better” school of food science (note the strong French influence!) I like to look at the facts. All foods from natural sources have to be evaluated on an individual basis.

Coffee can be considered a herb. It is hot water extracted from the berries of the Cofea plant. All plants that are not poisonous to humans have medicinal benefits because that is just how Nature rolls. Coffee contains small amounts of potassium, Riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5) and manganese. Manganese is vital for pituitary health, for example. And potassium helps to hydrate the body, so Nature may have provided a degree of balance to the dehydration issue.

How much caffeine is in coffee? The average for an 8 oz. cup is 95 mg, unless you got your cup at Starbucks, which logs in at twice the average amount. Green tea contains about 44 mg caffeine, and espresso has about 60 mg.

On average most people can benefit from a couple of cups of coffee a day. Pregnant women should keep caffeine levels below 200 mg. What are the benefits?

Coffee contains powerful antioxidants, which help the body to combat oxidative stress. Think of oxidative stress as too much of a good thing. While we need oxygen for cellular activity, too much is damaging to cells. Anti-oxidants balance out the damage of the potentially corrosive actions of high amounts of oxygen, otherwise known as free-radical damage. Some free-radical damage is normal, and merely stimulates repair by the immune system. But too much overwhelms the body, and may be a pre-condition that allows cancer and other metabolic diseases to develop.

Coffee is associated with lower mortality from all heart-related issues, such as stroke or heart-failure. It is also associated with lowered risk for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and dementia, and mice studies show that coffee is helpful against memory impairment. Research indicates that it is the caffeine in coffee that has the brain benefits, so decaf does not help.

Coffee seems to improve athletic performance, test performance and alertness. However, coffee is not as effective for test performance and alertness as certain wave-lengths of light from the blue band spectrum.

Coffee appears to be protective against fatty liver disease and promote healthy liver function. A study showed that coffee plus exercise helped prevent skin cancer in mice. (Now you will know what to think if you see a couple of mice with their little laptops at Starbucks.)

And coffee can help with a weight loss program by boosting your metabolism.

Who shouldn’t drink coffee? If you are caffeine sensitive, suffer from stomach issues, have insomnia, heart palpitations or anxiety coffee and black or green teas may not be good choices for you. Insomnia, digestive discomfort, anxiety and palpitations can be addressed with natural and nutritional medicine, so you don’t have to suffer or worry about these conditions. Call us for help.

Don’t medicate with coffee. If you are burning your candle at both ends, get some sleep and exercise and increase your nutrition. Too much coffee will only put more stress on your adrenals and immune system.

Why do some people get a headache when they are deprived of coffee? As expected, the more coffee consumed daily the more likely you are to experience a headache during coffee withdrawal. Scientists have measured the changes in blood flow to the brain, and deprivation of coffee seems to increase cerebral blood flow, triggering the classic withdrawal headache.

The remedy may be to cut back a bit at a time if you are consuming so much coffee that it makes you jittery or interferes with sleep. Try using a herbal coffee like Teecino to mix with your coffee, to cut back, but still enjoy a rich coffee drink.

Bottom line is that coffee in moderation appears to have health benefits for most people. Note that this article is about natural coffee, not caffeine. I will blog about synthetic caffeine in another article.

So, if you tolerate coffee well, don’t feel guilty about the indulgence. Try using Stevia to sweeten and flavored Stevia can help you skip those Frappuccino’s, which are loaded with chemicals and artificial flavors. I carry Peppermint and Toffee Stevia in my purse. Try bullet-proof coffee, made with organic butter or raw coconut oil, instead of milk, if you are avoiding dairy and trying to increase healthy fats.

A little coffee humor: Latte is French for “You just paid too much for your coffee”.

“Mothers are those wonderful people who can get up in the morning before the smell of coffee.”  “Deja Brew-the feeling you’ve had this coffee before.”
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Lastly, “May your cup runneth over with Joy, love and really fabulous coffee!”