6 Health Benefits Of Sesame Seed Oil and How to Use it to Improve Your Health

health benefits of sesame seed oil

Sesame seed oil has been used through the ages in many Asian cuisines. It is high in nutty flavor and brings so much joy to those who eat it. It’s no wonder it has infiltrated Western culture in more recent years. People are using this small seed oil as an alternative to vegetable oil in their cooking. Do you know the health benefits of sesame seed oil?

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6 Health Benefits of Sesame Oil

1. Healthy Skin and Hair

Skin: Sesame seed oil is loaded with zinc which means it’s incredibly good for your skin. It can be used to treat a plethora of different kinds of skin ailments. Sesame seed oil is useful for treating inflamed, irritated and damaged skin because it is high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties. The oil penetrates deep into the derma, fighting bacteria and leaving your skin vibrant and detoxified.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your skin include:

  • Fights and prevents bacterial infections (including acne)
  • Repairs skin cells
  • Soothes eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduces the appearance of age spots
  • Natural moisturizer and sunscreen
  • Helps with diaper rash in babies

How to use as a moisturizer

Apply liberally to your skin after a hot shower, and leave it on your skin for 10 minutes or so. Thoroughly rub it in after the 10 minutes. Apply more as needed.

How to Use to Detoxify

Before your bath or shower, apply and let it soak into your skin. This will allow the oil to have time to penetrate your skin and target the toxins deep within your skin. Finally, wash the oil away along with the toxins.

Hair: Sesame seed oil is high in vitamins and minerals which your scalp loves. From soothing a dry, flaky scalp to getting rid of lice, there are so many different ways to use this oil on your hair.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your hair include:

  • Deep conditioning
  • Lice treatment
  • Soothes and calms a dry and flaky scalp
  • Adds shine
  • Treats dandruff
  • Treats premature graying

Human Body

2. Improves Bone Quality

Sesame oil is used to help promote active bone growth. It is high in copper, zinc, and calcium, all minerals that are necessary for bone growth. It can be used by people to mitigate the effects of osteoporosis and other bone-weakening diseases brought on by age. In addition, it can be used to speed up the regrowth and healing process of damaged bones.

3. Oral Health

Many people don’t realize that brushing and flossing can cause micro-tears in their gums, which can open a gateway into the rest of your body for infections. While brushing your teeth is an essential practice for good oral hygiene, you might also benefit by giving oil pulling a try.

Reasons to use sesame oil in your oral care:

  • Fights oral infections
  • Prevents plaque build up
  • Prevents gum/mouth diseases like gingivitis and cavities
  • Fights bad breath causing bacteria

How to Oil Pull

  • Swish oil gently for about 15-20 minutes
  • Make sure it is reaching all parts of your mouth
  • As it pulls out toxins, the consistency will change
  • Once it reaches a thick consistency that is milky white, spit out before toxins are reabsorbed
  • Rinse well with water
  • Repeat a few times a week, or daily if you prefer

Note: Spit out oil in the trash so you don’t clog your pipes

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4. Boosts Heart Health and Improves Circulation

Sesame seed oil is high in zinc and copper, which by now you probably know has many benefits to your body, including your heart and your blood.

Your heart will benefit because sesame oil contains lignins which contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that can prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Lignins are known to help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

Your circulation will improve after you start using sesame oil. The additional zinc and copper will enable your body to begin functioning at optimal levels for the production of new red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells in your tissues mean healthy organs, which means a healthier you. Not only that, but sesame oil is touted for its ability to lower blood pressure which will improve blood circulation.

5. Helps Manage Anxiety, Depression and Stress

Sesame seed oil contains an amino acid called tyrosine. This is great news for people who are dealing with chronic stress, depression or anxiety. Eating foods that contain the amino acid tyrosine will directly affect your serotonin levels which signal an increase in your mood.

6. Anti-Cancer Properties

Some of the chemical compounds in sesame oil, such as sesamol and sesamin, have been found to reduce certain types of cancer cells. This means that the growth of the cancer cells was slowed down or stopped altogether. Additionally, sesame seed oil stimulates antibodies which are your body’s natural way of attacking cancer cells.

There you have it: 6 key health benefits of sesame seed oil.

What Kind of Oil Works Best?

There are different kinds of sesame oil. To get the most health benefits, look for cold-pressed or organic sesame oil. These are the least processed options, and they contain the most nutrients compared to any other type of sesame oil out there. Organic and cold-pressed sesame oils can generally be found in specialty grocery stores or online.

If you are considering adding sesame seed oil to your everyday life, contact the experts at Balanced Care. We are a wealth of knowledge and would love to help you make the right decisions that fit your lifestyle. Contact us today.

Metabolic Syndrome: Risk Factors & Prevention

A background on Metabolic Syndrome: Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When death results from these situations it often feels like the incident occurred out of nowhere, which can leave family members wondering what could have been done to save their loved ones.

Although death from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are almost always unexpected, there are often a group of risk factors that show up as warning signs far before the sometimes fatal events occur. Some of these risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waistline. Together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of these conditions increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is usually the result of several causes including overweight, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet which ultimately leads to inflammation throughout the body.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body has become insulin resistant, another culprit of metabolic syndrome. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns the carbs into sugar or glucose after the food has been digested. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use this glucose as energy or to store the glucose for future use. When your body becomes insulin resistant your cells cannot efficiently use blood sugar or glucose for energy. Whenever insulin is elevated it send the body into a “fat storage mode” which makes weight loss very difficult. When this happens you continuously have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if a dietary change is not made.

Metabolic Syndrome
Source: Elite Healthcare

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome 

As stated earlier, metabolic syndrome is the result of a number of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Often these conditions have very few signs or symptoms. Some individuals with high blood pressure may face headaches and dizzy spells, while those with high blood sugar can experience increased thirst, urination and headaches. On the other hand, some individuals show no signs or symptoms at all.

A visible sign that someone may be suffering from metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Having extra fat in the belly area, as opposed to other areas of the body, has been linked to an increase risk of metabolic syndrome. For those of us with a more visual mind, if your body shape looks more like an apple instead of a pear, this could be a visual cue that you are suffering a health condition.

Get Tested

Because of the often few and sometimes non-existent symptoms of metabolic syndrome, it can be very hard to determine whether you are suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do if you suspect that you may have metabolic syndrome is to consult a physician.

If you have been looking to find a naturopathic doctor or if you are interested in exploring naturopathic remedies for health, Balanced Care is the right place for you. At Balanced Care we can complete a physical exam and run a number of tests to confirm whether you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. These tests will measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Genetic testing can also be used to evaluate your cardiac risk. 

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

If you are in fact diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that natural treatments and lifestyle changes can reverse your condition. These natural remedies include changes in nutrition and becoming more active which leads to weight loss and decreased inflammation.

Changing your diet will do wonders for you if you suffer from metabolic syndrome. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals can help your metabolism operate properly. Because everyone is different, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can help you create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Exercise and being active is a great way to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance. Everything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to attending a yoga class will help – nothing is off limits. As long as you are consistently moving, this increased activity will help tackle your metabolic syndrome conditions.

As a result of improving your diet and becoming more active, you will see the pounds fall off. The apple shape you once had will soon turn into a pear if you keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Most of us know someone whose life was changed forever as a result of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Many of these lives could have been saved if the correct natural treatments for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were implemented sooner.

Metabolic syndrome is a very clear sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes are preventable, especially when treated by addressing the underlying cause. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting tested and regaining control of your health.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathDr. Katie is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Serving the Twin Cities, she is passionate about addressing the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. Holistic medical care and individualized treatment plans for each and every patient is what you can expect. Call now to schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation at 612-564-2218. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

12 Ways to Know You are Ovulating

ovulation, fertility, infertility

Ovulation is the only time in your cycle that you can get pregnant, so it is crucial to know when you are ovulating if you are trying to conceive. This one small bit of information can drastically boost your odds of conceiving in any given cycle. Conception is a very complex process, so you will want to do everything you can to help it along. First, let us discuss what happens during ovulation.

Pregnancy Test, infertility, fertility

What is Ovulation?

In simple terms, ovulation occurs when the female body releases a mature egg for fertilization. This normally happens every cycle, regardless of whether the woman has had intercourse. If you have had sex within your fertile window, there is a chance that one very resilient sperm will make its way to fertilize the egg. This is not a given, though. The sperm’s journey is long and arduous, and there are no guarantees that they will make it. This is why it can take more than one cycle for any healthy, fertile couple to conceive.

Regardless of whether sperm were present during the fertile window. If the egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours, it will degenerate and another cycle will begin about two weeks later.

Ovulation normally occurs every cycle, but its appearance may change depending on the woman’s cycle. Most women ovulate about 15 days before the beginning of their next cycle (next menstrual period). If you have a 28-day cycle, this means you will ovulate around day 14. If you have a 30-day cycle, you may ovulate around day 16. These are not hard and fast numbers, though. Even with a 28-day cycle, you may ovulate on day 12 or 16. This is why it is good to know the signs of ovulation. Being just a few days off can really make a big difference for your chances of conception. Learn more about ovulation here.

Signs of Ovulation

There are some common signs of ovulation that every woman experiences. All you need to know is how to look for them. Then there are some other ovulation symptoms that only some women experience. It is good to know about these because if you are one of those women, it can be another indication that you are ovulating.

ovulation, fertility, infertility, pregnancy

Cervical Mucus Changes – When you are ovulating, your body is preparing for that egg to be fertilized. A once hostile environment for sperm must become friendly. One way this happens is with cervical mucus changes. Hormones that control your cycle also change your cervical mucus. After your period you may not notice any cervical mucus (dry days). As you start entering your fertile window, cervical mucus increases and changes texture. At first, it will be sticky. Then it will be creamy. Then, when you are at your most fertile, there will be an increase of mucus that resembles the texture of raw egg whites.

Cervical Position Changes – As your body rolls out the welcome mat for any sperm that may enter during this time, it continues changing. The cervix sits higher in the vagina. It also softens and is wet with that EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus). At this time, the cervix, which used to be closed off, opens to allow sperm into the uterus. You should be able to feel for these changes, but it is a good idea to feel at various times in your cycle, so you can notice the difference.

Basal Body Temperature Changes – After ovulation, you may notice a temperature rise, your body temperature will increase by about one degree Fahrenheit. You may notice that your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day anyway, so the only way to notice such a change is to take your temperature first thing in the morning before you roll out of bed. Keep a pencil and paper at your bedside along with a thermometer. Chart these early morning readings and it should be easy to see when your temperature spikes.

Positive OPK Result – Ovulation predictor kits can tell you when your body is preparing to ovulate by detecting increased levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine. You can buy these tests over the counter at most pharmacies.

Saliva Ferning – When you are ovulating, your saliva changes. It’s not something you can see with the naked eye, though. You must use a microscope to look for a ferning (or snowflake) pattern.

There are other signs of ovulation that some women experience every cycle. These include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramping pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Sharper senses
  • Light spotting
  • Headaches and/or nausea

 

Once you can identify these signs, it’ll make it much easier to know when you are ovulating and get the timing right.

 

Author Bio: Phil Druce founded Ovulation Calculator in 2014 with the goal of providing easy to understand, science backed knowledge and tools to couples trying to conceive. He was inspired to do this after his own fertility battle.

 

Infertility & Adoption Family Planning Conference

Naturopathic doctor

Dr. Katie will be speaking and answering your questions!

dr-katie

Join me with The National Infertility Association, Resolve. They are hosting their 31st annual Midwest Family Building Conference – Exploring Paths of Hope. This is for families at various stages of family planning – I hope you join us at this fantastic event!

  • FREE expert advice from Integrative Therapy Practitioners (Naturopathic Doctor, acupuncturist, Yoga instructor, and more), Reproductive endocrinologist, adoption agencies,  attorneys, psychologists and other fertility and adoption specialists.
  • FREE giveaways
  • Largest conference of its type in the Midwest

When?  Saturday, November 14th

Time?  7:30 AM – 5 PM

Where?  Fridley, Minnesota

5 Post-Partum Home Care Tips

post-partum home care, sitz bath, magnesium, epsom

Post-partum home care tips from Jen Wittes of Welcome Baby Care

1. DIY Sitz Bath

Bath tub, postpartum, sitz, magnesium, epsom

Relax with our first post-partum home care tip. There are many Sitz Bath “mixes” on the market, as well as recipes for you to follow at home. Most contain comfrey, lavender and raspberry leaf. Not up for the hassle and expense? You can DIY with tea bags in shallow warm water – chamomile, lavender or raspberry leaf. NOT peppermint or ginger…OUCH!

2. Easy Postpartum Pads

Whether you have a hospital or home birth, your nurses and midwives will give you cold packs to soothe your sore (and possibly torn and sutured) perineum. Here’s our second post-partum home care tip: When the supply of cold packs runs out and you are at home, alone and healing, you can make your own by dipping maxi pads in a solution of witch hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender essential oil before freezing them.

3. Eat Your Soup

Healing, soup, postpartum, food, medicine

Doulas know that the traditional postpartum meal across many generations and cultures is hot soup. Why? The Chinese believe it restores your heat or “chi” which is said to leave in the process of childbirth. In Western cultures, we find that soup – often rich in nutritious ingredients – just makes us feel better. When you’re tired, hot liquid foods are easier to stomach and make you feel relaxed.

4. Hydrate Like Crazy

Lemon Tea, hydrate, postpartum, anxiety

During birth, you lose quite a bit of blood and fluid. After birth, your body continues to expel the fluid retention of pregnancy through frequent urination and sweating. Both breastfeeding mothers and those trying to suppress milk production need to replenish the fluids lost in lactation. Heavy hydration also helps aid in muscle recovery and involution (or the return of the uterus to pre-pregnancy size). Water, water, water! Tea is great too. I also like a simple restoration smoothie of frozen blueberries, spinach and coconut water.

5. Ask for and Accept Help 

Love, support, family, planning, infertility, fertility, postpartumSoup is not the only multi-generational, multicultural postpartum tradition. It is customary to surround the new mother and child with abundant love, support and practical help. In the U.S., we have fallen away from this to the detriment of our women. The expected quick return to work and participation in a continuously plugged in word only exacerbates the problem. Whether sought out and hired or volunteered, postpartum support is crucial. YES to the neighbor’s offer to walk the dog. YES to every casserole. YES to anyone or anything that helps you get in a nap and a hot shower.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodbury

Dr. Katie Corazzo is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing throughout the Twin Cities in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in women’s health and fertility. Natural medicines and nutrition are used for treatments.

Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health

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Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health information from Discover Strength

This post is from  Discover Strength  a premier personal training gym. They focus on science-based strength training with time-efficient affordable workouts. Dr. Katie trains with them and absolutely loves it. Check this article out about how strength training can not only improve your fitness, but your cardiovascular health as well.

It is well established that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of the arteries.  This is a very positive adaptation as the compliance of our blood vessels plays an important role in predicting cardiovascular events.

Until recently, physicians and researchers assumed that intense resistance training reduces the compliance of our major blood vessels; of course, this is a bad thing as increased “stiffness” of the blood vessels predisposes us to cardiovascular disease.  However, very little research has existed to support this contention.  Authors of a recent research study published in the Journal of Hypertension (February 2014) sought to determine the impact of long-term, intense strength training on arterial “stiffness.”  The researchers concluded,

“Long-term intense resistance training in men decreased aortic stiffness… and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.”

This important study contributes to the growing body of literature that represents a paradigm shift from defining the benefits of resistance exercise as increased muscle strength, bone health, and body composition, to a more robust profile of cardio-metabolic health benefits.   Indeed, “strength training” is more properly coined, “resistance exercise.”

  • It is well accepted that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of central arteries (elasticity in our vessels is important in preventing cardiovascular disease!)

  • The research and/or opinions on whether or not strength training is good or bad for the elasticity of our vessels is mixed (and much of the thought is that strength training REDUCES elasticity AKA “compliance” of the vessel… and this is why many cardiologists have been anti-strength training. This was a longer term study with trained runners and trained strength training subjects (and the strength training group had to have been strength training 5 times per week!)… The researchers even speculated that half of the strength training participants were on steroids! Subjects were in their mid-30’s.

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  • Endurance running led to improvements in vascular function – “We confirmed that long-term endurance training is associated with the classical cardiovascular and hemodynamic adaptations and with decreased aortic stiffness.”
  • Main finding:  Our main finding was that long-term intense resistance training men presented decreased aortic stiffness (PWV values similar to endurance runners) and lower cAP, a trend to longer T1 and Trw, normal central aortic pressures, and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.
  • In conclusion, besides the benefits of improvements in the musculoskeletal functions, it seems that long-term IRT is not associated with detrimental effects on central artery elastic properties or wave reflection or cardiovascular structure and function of healthy individuals.

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Take home message in simplest terms:

It has long been assumed that intense strength training over a long period of time has a negative impact on artery/vessel elasticity and function (this is a bad thing). However, the results of this study show that intense strength training actually improves elasticity (i.e. Decreased aortic stiffness) in healthy adults (a good thing!).

Am I “Normal”?!

Vegetables

Vegetables

Have you ever wondered if ________ is normal? I get asked this question a lot! Within the areas of women’s health, we spend a lot of time talking about disease, illness, and symptoms, but what about defining what “normal” is? What about your menstrual cycle, bowel movements, and nutrition? Keep in mind that we are all different. What is normal for one person, may not be normal for another. It also comes down to what you are willing to put up with. Some women have a very strong pain tolerance and will just ‘deal’ with it, while others will spend hours on google searching for a cure.

Disclaimer: Guys, sorry. This one is for the ladies. (Women’s Health)

1. Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, we all have it. The difference is the ways we manage the stress and how it affects us. Exercise, yoga, reading a book, spending time with loved ones, and meditation are just a few things people can do to relieve stress. Stress can often come with anxiety and/or depression which brings us into that “abnormal” category and can be treated with homeopathy.

2. Menstrual cycle

A normal cycle is 21 – 35 days and will last between 3-7 days. Cycles are measured from the first day of your menses to the first day of your menses the next month. This might change if you are on certain types of hormonal contraceptives.

3. PMS

Most women experience PMS the week before their period that is normal. The symptoms should dissipate by the first or second day of your menses and should not begin more than 1 week before your menses. You should be able to function normally during this time. Bloating, moodiness, cramps, cravings, and fatigue are just a few PMS symptoms that are normal. It becomes abnormal when it interferes with your daily life or is causing you significant distress. Staying home because you are in excruciating pain or are afraid you will bleed through your dress pants may be normal for you, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer. I can offer treatments to ease the most problematic PMS symptoms and determine if there is something more serious going on like PCOS or endometriosis.

4. Bone density

Bone density normally increases during your younger years and can decrease especially after menopause. Estrogen is protective to our bones; therefore during menopause when estrogen levels decrease, our bone density can decrease as well. Having a bone density scan (DEXA) at the beginning of menopause can help determine whether you are maintaining, building, or losing bone during menopause. I can help you prevent bone loss with the proper supplementation.

5.  Menopause

I hate to break it to you, but this is a normal part of life. Even those hot flashes are normal. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. Naturopathic medicine can keep you feeling like your younger self with herbs and nutrition.

6. Bowel Movements

Yes, that’s right I am talking about poop. 1-4 bowel movements per day is normal. When you look in the toilet it should be well-formed, in 1-3 pieces, and sink to the bottom. The color will depend on what you are eating but the green to brown range is normal

7. Metabolism

We have all heard that our metabolism slows down as we age. While this might be true, it doesn’t mean that you give up. Change is normal, but maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise (including weight-bearing exercise) can make this transition less noticeable.

8. Love

Totally normal. I hope you do lots of it.

9. Healthy food

Making healthy food choices is a normal way to live your life. A healthy, nutritious diet can become the norm at your home if it’s not already. How can you start today? Increase the amount of veggies you eat every day! Still unsure of how to improve your diet? Make an appointment to come see me for a diet plan specifically for you.

10. Naturopathy

Naturopathic medicine should be a normal part of your healing journey and can help prevent and treat symptoms or diseases that are “abnormal”, or simply help improve your lifestyle with nutrition and nutrients.

Wondering if something you’re experiencing is “normal”? Send me a message or call for a free 15 minute women’s health consultation!

Warming sock treatment for colds and flus

warming sock treatment for colds and flus

Wet Sock

Warming sock treatment for colds and flus!

Have you been feeling a little congested or like you might be coming down with a cold? Wet socks is an easy home remedy you can try today! Your feet will warm up the socks very quickly and it can be a soothing and relaxing treatment. Put these on before bed and your body will do the work while you sleep! All you need is water and a pair of cotton and wool socks. Check out Mind Body Green and give it a go.