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Lifestyle Changes to Prevent and Reverse Memory Loss

Last week’s newsletter explored diet and lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s and how your diet can impact your brain. Check it out here in case you missed it
Your food and lifestyle choices determine if you are at high risk for developing memory loss or not. Today, I want to give you tips on how to create a lifestyle your brain will love as well as foods that nourish your brain (and also ones that are harmful).


Exercise

We all need physical movement to be healthy, especially if your work entails a lot of sitting down. Exercise is also an important therapeutic strategy to reduce risk for dementia.
 
Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to meet the metabolic demand of the body as the cells convert more glucose into fuel or energy. The heart then pumps blood faster to meet the oxygen demand and to eliminate the carbon dioxide, as a byproduct of metabolism. This is why aerobic exercise is also referred to as cardio. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling, running, dancing, and swimming.
Take a moment to evaluate your lifestyle. From 1 to 10, where 1 is sedentary and 10 is active, where are you?
Depending on your answer, look for opportunities where you can improve. For example, squeeze in a 10-minute walk every day. It’s a lot better than nothing! Current recommendations are 150 minutes of walking weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Start where you can. Any amount is better than none.

Sleep Well

Poor sleep is a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Want to maintain brain health even when you age? Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep every time you hit the sheets at night.
 
If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain cannot form pathways for new learning and memories. You might notice that when you lack sleep, it’s harder for you to concentrate and respond quickly.
Consider sleep to be as vital as food and water.

Manage Stress Effectively

Everybody deals with stress, but the way you manage it is a game changer. Stress management techniques such as imagery, yoga, deep breathing, friend time, exercise, and my favorite HeartMath are all helpful. Why I love HeartMath tools for managing my stress so much is because you can do them anywhere and anytime (and that is a great thing because stress can hit us anywhere and anytime…the sooner you can address it, the better!). One super easy HeartMath tool is called Heart-Focused Breathing and all you need to do is to focus your attention on your heart and imagine your breath flowing in and out of your heart or chest area. Make your breath a little slower and deeper than usual.
Doesn’t that feel great?!
Here are 10 other simple tips to help manage and reduce your stress levels.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Certain foods can badly affect your brain. The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain are:

  • Sugary drinks and food – This causes brain inflammation and memory impairment.
  • Refined carbs – This refers to sugars and highly processed grains like white flour; it also causes insulin resistance.
  • Foods high in trans-fats – These are chemically modified unsaturated fats that have a negative effect on the brain. You don’t need to worry about the trans-fats that are naturally occurring in small amounts in some foods like dairy. Our concern is the artificial trans-fats in shortening, margarine, frosting, microwavable popcorn, frozen foods, and so on.
  • Highly processed foods – Avoid these because they usually are high in sugar, added fats, and salt.
  • Aspartame – An artificial sweetener! Definitely a no-no! Phenylalanine, one of aspartame’s components crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and disrupts neurotransmitter production.
  • Alcohol – Drinking a glass of wine here and there may be fine, but excessive alcohol consumption is not healthy. Binge drinking and drinking to the point of slurred speech is particularly damaging to your brain.
  • Fish high in mercury – Though fish is a good source of protein and healthy fats, you must be aware that fish is highly susceptible to accumulating mercury, most especially predatory fish such as shark and swordfish. Mercury is neurotoxic and can permanently damage the brain.

Instead focus on eating foods that make your brain function optimally. Make sure you get enough healthy fats like omega 3 fats from fatty fish (like salmon and sardines), coconut oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, avocados, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
 
It is also good if you can supplement your diet with high quality multivitamins and other food supplements for brain function, such as probiotics, since good gut health is crucial in brain function as well.
 
These are simple lifestyle changes that can create a big impact in your life, especially during your senior years. Won’t you love the elderly version of you who is still able to think clearly and enjoy all the good memories you’re creating?
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health, so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. I hope that today’s suggestions are helpful to you.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
 
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

How “healthy” foods can make us fat and sick


You’ve heard that one man’s medicine is another man’s poison, but did you know that one person’s health food is another person’s junk food?

Millions of Americans suffer from at least one food intolerance/sensitivity. You can be intolerant to any food: apples, lettuce, chicken, and even olive oil. Besides making it impossible to lose weight, food and food chemical intolerance has been found to play a role in many chronic health conditions including:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Weight imbalances
  • Cravings
  • Skin conditions such as eczema
  • Heartburn/GERD
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic diarrhea

Food intolerance is also considered a major stressor to the adrenal glands. Unhealthy adrenals can wreak havoc on gut health, immune system, detoxification capabilities, hormones, fertility and muscle and fat gain and loss.

What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance is a negative reaction to food that happens when your body is hypersensitive to a food and launches an attack with mediators (chemicals from your immune system such as eosinophils, basophils, neutrophils macrophages, T-cells and NK cells). Every time the trigger food is consumed, systemic disruption takes place and can cause chronic inflammation in the body resulting in a variety of symptoms (see above).

The difference between food intolerance and allergies

Food intolerance is different than food allergies in a couple of ways. One is the way that the body responds and the other is the speed in which the body responds.

With an allergy, your body’s immune system (mast cells) reacts to the offending food very soon after exposure. Food allergies occur in 2-4% of the population. The body releases histamine, prostaglandins and other proinflammatory mediators. If you have a strong enough allergic reaction, exposure to the allergic food can result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. Because the reaction occurs so quickly after exposure to the allergic food, most people who have food allergies are well aware of what they are allergic to. Food intolerance or sensitivity can be much trickier since the reaction is delayed. You can also have a food intolerance that doesn’t give you clear symptoms unless you have a lot of it or eat it a few days in a row. This is why it can be so challenging to figure out!

Food intolerance pathways

There are many, many ways that the body can react to an intolerance because there are multiple hypersensitivity pathways. The four main categories of hypersensitivity are: Type I, II, III and IV. Types III and IV are much more common in people than Type I reactions; 15-25% of population compared to 2-4%.

  • Type I hypersensitivity categorizes true food allergies as given in the above example. It is also called an IgE reaction.
  • Type II hypersensitivity has not been found to be linked to adverse reactions to food.
  • Type III hypersensitivity includes IgG reactions (commonly tested for by most food intolerance tests). Type III reactions usually take place 3-8 hours after exposure.
  • Type IV hypersensitivity is the most common pathway for adverse food reactions and yet many tests do not test for Type IV reactions. In Type IV reactions, the T-cells react with offensive foods and symptoms occur anywhere from 4-72 hours after exposure. Herein lies the challenge with identifying delayed food intolerances. How many people are going to make the connection between not feeling well with what they ate 72 hours earlier?

Finding out if you have a food intolerance

There are several methods for food intolerance testing.

  • Finger prick IgG can be done easily at home and mailed to a lab if ordered by your doctor or nutritionist. Many doctors and nutritionists in the can facilitate this method of testing.
  • Serum IgG involves a blood draw and must be done at a medical clinic. This testing is more commonly done with naturopathic doctors, but if you do not have an ND, can be requested by any doctor.
  • Serum IgG and Type IV tests offer the broadest spectrum of pinning down food intolerance trigger foods. Oxford Labs offers a test called the MRT (Mediator Release Test), which is currently considered one of the best, most accurate food intolerance tests (also tests for food chemicals). This test is offered through licensed nutritionists such as myself with special certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutritionand Metabolic Typing

To heal your body, you’ll need to get a good plan for replacing your trigger foods with gut healing, anti-inflammatory foods. Getting those stressful foods out of your diet for awhile may allow you to eat them later without it causing inflammation and all those other symptoms we talked about.

Your body is designed to be healthy. Sometimes it needs a bit of extra help so you can look and feel your best. As you now know, food intolerance is a major obstacle that may be getting in your way and causing you symptoms. You don’t need to keep wasting your time and energy struggling and guessing. Let’s figure it out together and help you feel like your best self again!

In health,

Rebecca

Autoimmunity and being “too clean”

Today I’d love to share some helpful information on how you can support your immune system.
You or someone you care about may be struggling with your immune system (and I’m not just talking about getting an occasional cold: I’m talking about autoimmunity). Autoimmunity is when your immune system attacks YOU rather than invading germs. It affects about 14-22 million people in the United States (heart disease, the most common disease in the U.S. affects 22 million).

Examples of autoimmune disease are celiac disease (intestines), inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (intestines), Hashimoto’s and Grave’s (thyroid), multiple sclerosis (nervous system), and eczema and psoriasis (skin).

I’m reading this great book right now called Healthy Gut, Healthy You and there is a whole section on the research behind autoimmunity and hygiene.

Did you know that about 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Since a big part of how I help people to regain their health is through creating foundations for a strong healthy gut, I wanted to share a couple tidbits with you.

Your gut is the root of your health and it is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, clear out toxins that need clearing out daily, and have a properly functioning immune system so you can thrive. 

Everything you eat has an impact on your gut health. So does your environment.

Why am I telling you this? Because my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy your life.
 

Hygiene and Your Immune System

What we’re realizing is that being too clean and disinfecting everything from our hands multiple times each day to every surface of our work and home could actually be a big problem.

Is it good to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? Yes. Is it good to wash up before you eat in general? Yes. But the research shows that people “who live in non-Westernized societies have far less inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases” (H. Okada The Hygeine Hypothesis, Clinical & Experimental Immunology).

Using anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial household cleaners reduce our interaction with bacteria–because they kill them off. And we need bacteria in our lives: our lives depend on it. You are more bacteria then you are human cells! It is now believed that by constantly reducing our exposure to bacteria makes your immune system restless. It is also believed that those who develop autoimmunity or allergies have a strong immune system…but it doesn’t have the constant exposure to dirt and germs it needs to train it to function properly. So when that immune system is really strong, bored and poorly trained from having a sterile environment, it is more prone to react quickly and strongly to your own tissues (autoimmunity).

If you already have developed one or more autoimmune condition, absolutely work with someone who can help you dial in your diet and support gut function. This can help you from anywhere from managing symptoms to going into remission. If you are having symptoms with allergies, skin, gut, energy, weight, poor sleep…well, these are signs that your health needs support. You can make a huge difference to the direction your life and health are headed by taking action now before autoimmune disease develops.

Generally, you can support your body by getting regular contact with nature. Get outside in nature as often as possible. Get your hands dirty if you’re taking a hike. Breathe in the fresh air. Have plants in your home and a pet if you can and aren’t allergic. Your body needs interaction with bacteria! Wash your hands with soap (not anti-bacterial) and warm water.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much you can do to support your health in addition to this. 
Please contact me if you’d like to explore what you can do to support your health and immune system. I’d love to help you.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca


P.S. Do you know someone who is struggling with their weight, digestion/gut, or energy?
Send them my way! They can set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here and so can you!