Taking Probiotics for Good Health

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The Importance of Taking Probiotics for Good Health

Probiotics are the beneficial or good bacteria that normally reside in your digestive tract. Two of the more common beneficial bacteria are Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. These healthy probiotics have so many health benefits for our body.

They keep our immune system strong, helping us fight off infections. Probiotics can really help reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome such as gas and bloating. They work great for reducing belly bloat just in time for bathing suit season!
Probiotics have many other health benefits including the prevention of urinary tract infections, treatment and prevention of vaginal yeast infections, prevention of allergies and treating eczema.

Digestive health is very important for children. A newborn acquires beneficial flora during birth. Therefore, taking probiotics during pregnancy is important to support the digestive health of the mother and secondly, her newborn baby.

The Swansea Baby Trial conducted in 2012 founds probiotics administered during pregnancy and early infancy reduced the frequency of eczema in children. (SJ Allen, S Jordan, Probiotics and Atopic Eczema: Double Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Dis Child 2012 97:A2)

Probiotics have so many health benefits. A good quality probiotic is important to ensure the right strain of bacteria is being used to colonize the intestinal tract. Start taking your probiotics!

Come in and talk to one of our naturopathic doctors and find out which pro-biotic is best suited for you!

Yours in health,

Dr Tasreen Alibhai ,ND

Sleep and Hormones

sleep hormone
We all know that sleep is important for our bodies to rest, heal and rebuild. For example when melatonin is released from the brain into the blood stream, the body naturally starts to cool down in temperature and slowing down overall. However this release during sleep triggers the release of another important hormone – growth hormone. Growth hormone will initiate the repair of damaged cells, re-build muscles and bone and indirectly contribute to fat loss. Therefore it is vital to maintain a solid sleep to promote recovery from illness or inflammation, weight loss and physical well-being.

Taking the example of weight loss and the contribution of good quality sleep, Dr. Natasha Turner (author of “The Supercharged Hormone Diet”pg 54-55) has come up with a list of the top 10 tips to decrease interference of fat loss (from release of growth hormone) while you sleep. Some highlights are as follows:

  • Stop eating and drinking 3 hours before bed. Higher insulin levels lead to less melatonin and growth hormone release.
  • Sleep in the dark. Consider black-out blinds and remove that alarm clock. Light inhibits release of melatonin. This also leads to the discussion of stopping the use of screens (TV, computer, phone) at least 1 hour before bed! Try a book instead.
  • Avoid intense exercise 3 hours before bed. Stimulation of brain activity from endorphins can lead to a decrease in melatonin release.
  • Ensure that you sleep in a cooler environment. Crack the window open, lower the room temperature and consider sleeping in light PJs or nude. Warmer body temperatures will decrease melatonin and growth hormone activity and lead to an overall poorer quality sleep.
  • Go to bed before midnight (10pm would be great!) and work towards getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night. The quality of sleep before midnight is better than the sleep after midnight.

These are simple tips to get you started on a more balanced sleep/wake cycle which will have positive impacts on mood, energy, dietary cravings, body composition and more. Sometimes even though all of the effort is made, sleep can still be challenging to maintain or initiate. It is in those cases that a closer look at individual hormone levels and balances is required. For example the stress hormone cortisol can often be blamed for waking during the night when in high levels. Melatonin production declines with age as does growth hormone. These hormones can be supported through natural therapies such as supplementation, acupuncture, yoga and more. Please contact our clinic for more information and to get a start on improving your sleep cycle.

Yours in health,

Dr. Jennifer Luis, ND

The Risks of Skin Cancer

skin cancer
Skin cancer is similar to most types of cancer where a known, single cause has not been found. Most cancers seem to be the result of a complex mix of many risk factors such as life style choices, exposure to known cancer-causing substances in the environment. The frequency and accumulation of the exposure to a risk factor increases the chances that cancer will develop. Therefore it may take many years for cancer to develop after exposure to a risk factor.

People may be exposed to several risk factors in the course of their daily lives. Some of these risk factors such as the sun and tobacco can be avoided, while others like age or genetic factors cannot. At least 50% of cancers can be prevented through healthy living. Risk reduction (or prevention) means taking action to lower the risk of developing cancer. There are ways a person can decrease his/her overall chance of developing certain types of cancer and stay well. In the case of skin cancer one of the vital ways to reduce risk is to avoid over exposure to the sun.
Here are some tips on how stay safe during the summer months:

Cover Up
Wear long clothing, broad brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Wear Sunglasses
The sunglasses should be labeled to block 99-100% of UVA abd UVB rays or UV absorption up to 400 nm, or meets ANSI UV requirements.

Wear Sunscreen
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher every day, even the winter. Apply approximately 30 minutes before going out into the sun to allow for absorption.

Seek the shade especially between 10 am and 4 PM
Use the shadow rule: If your shadow is shorter than you- Seek Shade. When shadows are shorter than objects creating them, avoid direct sunlight.

Avoid UV Tanning Booths
Despite the claims of the tanning booth industry, tanning booths are not safe. The lamps used in tanning beds give out UVA rays and often UVB rays as well. These ultraviolet rays have been shown to cause serious long-term skin damage and are may be a risk factor for skin cancer.

Click HERE for more detailed information on ways to protect yourself from Skin Cancer.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Quinn Rivet, ND

Raw Mediterranean Kale Salad

kale salad
Try this delicious recipe – great for a picnic or bbq!
Recipe Source: Nourishing Meals

1 large bunch of kale, thinly sliced
1/2 cup currants
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
handful of grape tomatoes (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
small handful of fresh oregano leaves

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and toss together. Let the salad rest for about 10 to 20 minutes before serving. The lemon juice and olive oil with soften the kale and take away some of the bitterness (though young kale leaves are much sweeter and not as bitter compared to more mature kale).



The Team at Vitalia Health Care

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