Could You Be Suffering From Candida?

candida overgrowth, digestion, IBS, celiac, colitis

Candida Overgrowth (Or Candida Albicans)

The weather is finally warming up. For most of us this means that plenty of get togethers and an abundance of decadent food and drinks are right around the corner. For those of you struggling with digestion issues, however, just thinking about the food and beverages probably has your stomach churning. Digestive disorders can take the fun out of our most enjoyable moments. They don’t have to however. The faster we can pinpoint the cause, the sooner you can enjoy life normally again.

One disorder that has been getting a lot of attention lately is candida overgrowth or candida albicans, its official term. Candida is a type of yeast, or fungus, that is found naturally in the body. For the most part when the bacteria in your body is balanced, candida is not a cause for concern. However, if you are living with an overgrowth of candida or a lack of good bacteria in your gut, you may experience one or a number of symptoms that can wreak havoc on your body and spoil the fun at your future gatherings.

Digestion, IBS, celiac, colitis

Symptoms and Causes of Candida

Symptoms of candida can vary, but include anxiety, depression, yeast infections, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, foggy thinking, fatigue, and skin issues. Like most ailments candida overgrowth can make you feel terrible. If you find yourself enjoying a couple of beers or other delights this season only to be followed by bloating and digestive discomfort, you may be suffering from candida.

Other common symptoms of candida include severe allergies, sugar cravings, and respiratory problems. Whether you are experiencing one or a few of these issues, candida can truly interfere with your quality of life.

So, what causes candida overgrowth? Eating a standard American diet that includes a lot of carbohydrates and highly refined foods is one of the many causes of candida. Candida feeds off of sugar and processed foods, allowing it to grow and take over your intestinal tract. Another cause of candida overgrowth includes the heavy use of antibiotics, which may have killed off the good bacteria while treating the bad. Birth control pills, stress and even chemotherapy are additional common causes.

Natural Treatment for Candida?

If you suspect that you may be suffering from candida, one of the simplest things that you can do is to change your diet. Eat a diet without sugar or yeast and full of fresh produce and quality protein.

Candida cleanses and diets are currently being marketed everywhere. Some cleanses include the use of probiotics. Although these diets may be beneficial to some candida sufferers, they might not work for everyone. The best thing to do is to work with your physician to determine what will work for you. This could save you money and possible disappointment.

Given the varying degrees of symptoms, candida affects its victims in many different ways.

Diagnosis

Sometimes candida overgrowth can appear visually on the tongue. If you take a look at your tongue and notice white coating it is likely that you have candida overgrowth. However, the only way to know is to get tested by a doctor.

Many candida overgrowth symptoms can be vague. Therefore, it can be hard to determine whether you are actually dealing with candida. Testing will help you determine and confirm whether candida is the true cause of your discomfort.

At Balanced Care we offer specific testing in order to find out whether or not you are truly suffering from candida overgrowth. If it turns out that you have other ailments but have misdiagnosed yourself as suffering from candida, this could potentially lead to more health problems. Testing positive, we will use natural remedies for candida or yeast overgrowth that are best for you.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodbury

Sugar Free February

sugar free diet, weight loss, health, insulin, stress

Motivation for a One-Month Sugar Free Diet

Say it with me “I am so done with the sugar!” Yep, you said it, it’s time to cut out the sugar. The holidays can do a number, not only on our waistline, but our health too. You know sugar isn’t good for you, but you eat it anyway because you can and because it tastes good and because you deserve it and because your coworker brought it to share and the list goes on. Here is your chance to join me in saying “no” to the sugar this February.

Sweets, sugar, weight loss, health, insulin, stress

Need motivation? Here are a few good reasons to ditch the sugar in favor of a sugar free diet:

  • Low energy and fatigue. Feeling exhausted?
  • Inflammation. That is not water retention, but swelling from the inflammation sugar causes. I had it too and guess what? It goes away quickly once the sugar is gone!
  • That spring break trip coming up…swim suite required
  • Prevention (and treatment!) – why wait until you have a serious or uncomfortable health concern like diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, constipation, or reflux just to name a few.

According to the American Heart Association, American consume “20 teaspoons of sugar a day according to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database. Teens and men consume the most added sugars. Average daily consumption for men: 335 calories, women: 230 calories, boys: 362 calories, girls: 282 calories.” That is almost 3 cups of sugar per week! No wonder cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the US.

Mobile, app, nutritionListen, your body deserves better than a few cups of sugar each week to help deal with the fatigue, stress, or (insert sugar craving cause). Follow along with me on Instagram @balancedcare and Facebook @Dr. Katie Corazzo throughout the month of February. I will offer tips, inspiration, and recipes to help you quit the sugar and begin feeling light and health again.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodburyDr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Woodbury and Edina, Minnesota. With a focus on addressing the underlying cause using natural medicines and nutrition, Dr. Katie can help you too. Appointments can be made online here.

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.

 

The Insulin – Cortisol Connection

Adrenal fatigue

Do you have stress in your life? I think it would be fair to say that we are stressed at varying levels. But how does stress and insulin affect your energy, weight, cravings, or fat distribution? I talk about this with my patients all. the. time. Let me break this down.

stressed women, adrenal, fatigue, motivation, depression

First, let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is famous for its relationship with glucose. As a hormone, it shuttles glucose into fat, muscle and the liver to be stored for use at a later time. We eat various forms of sugar and carbohydrates → increases blood sugar → pancreas secretes insulin → insulin directs glucose into cells → blood sugar levels decrease. → Make sense ← Check out this 1 minute video for a visual:

 

Fat production is increased by insulin while burning fat is inhibited.Exercise, health, weight lift, running, cardiovascular

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes develop from a diet rich in processed foods and sugar. Eventually, if left unregulated, the pancreas will struggle to make enough insulin. This is prevented and treated with a proper diet and regular exercise. It really is that simple…Or is it?

Enter cortisol, insulin’s bestie. Remember that little thing called stress? Working too much, not getting enough sleep, life, kids, a marriage, bills to pay, a car to fix, a sick parent – we all have it. As you try to balance life, cortisol is there to help. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during times of stress to help you “survive”. The adrenals are part of the ‘fight or flight response’.

Chronic stress can cause a kink in the system. The adrenals start sending out too much or too little cortisol and at the wrong times of the day, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The consequence? Fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain (especially abdominal), and cravings.

stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety

THE CONNECTION – if cortisol increases, so does insulin. A study looked at 766 Chinese men and women to see if cortisol and insulin are related. The study showed that the men and women who reported having “demands” and “insecurity” at work had higher levels of cortisol AND insulin resistance. The results “showed that chronic stress was associated with insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance.”

The reverse can cause problems too – when insulin is around cortisol triglycerides accumulate in the abdomen resulting in abdominal obesity.

Even if you are of normal weight or maybe a little over weight, but do not have insulin resistance, cortisol will still behave the same way for you.

Follow these simple tips to make the cortisol and insulin work FOR you and not AGAINST you:

1. Eat 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack ONLY. Snacking or eating several times throughout the day causes more spikes in your glucose and insulin throughout the day. Your metabolism will be A-OK with eating only 4x per day.

2. Find effective coping techniques to relieve stress – this will help reduce your cortisol and protect your adrenals. A bath, bike ride, meditation, walk, yoga, reading, painting or drawing are just a few ideas.

 

3. Stop eating so much sugar. Just stop! It is in everything so even if you think you aren’t eating it, you probably are. Indulge once in a while, but make sure it is very limited in your regular diet. Remember sugar spikes your insulin.

4. Eat balanced meals: tons of veggies, 4-5 ounces of meat or 20 grams of protein, and healthy fats.

kale, veggies, health, nutrition, holistic, naturopathic

5. Have 5-9 servings of veggies daily!

6. Sleep! Your adrenals need sleep to repair and recover from stress. A study showed that for every 1 hour of sleep lost per day there is an increase of .35 in body mass index (BMI). This is about 2 pounds in a 35-year-old female who is 5’4” and 160 lbs. Sleep duration may also be a predictor of weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

PCOS, infertility, dysmenorrhea, irregular menses, women's health

 

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathIf you are looking to dig deeper into this issue, please contact me for an appointment – I would love to help. We offer saliva hormone testing to help evaluate metabolic function with dramatic changes in patients energy, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, and overall healthy. I hope to hear from you soon! To schedule visits, including complimentary 15 minute in-person or phone visits at my Edina or Woodbury locations, visit this link.

 

 

Gluten-Free Veggie Pasta: 5-Step Recipe

gluten-free veggie pasta

Do you struggle to find something to cook that your entire family will like, especially if someone has food allergies or sensitivities? If you are looking for something that is simple and tasty, try this gluten-free veggie pasta!

In an effort to find something to cook for my guy, I decided to try this recipe. I love pasta don’t get me wrong, but it is usually high in carbs and dairy. This recipe is vegan, dairy and gluten-free, but high in carbs. You can’t win them all, right? Add lentils, beans, or grass-fed ground beef to increase the protein content of this meal.

Ingredients

Gluten free pasta

1 large gluten-free tomato sauce (with no added sugar)

1/2 Fresh onion

1 Red pepper

1 small carton of mushrooms

1/2 asparagus bunch

Fresh basil

Olive oil

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

1 tsp Italian seasoning

2 garlic cloves

 

Directions

1. Cook gluten-free noodles according to the box. Be careful not to over-cook to prevent them from becoming mushy. I chose spiral noodles, but angel hair or bow tie would work.

2. Cut veggies – Julienne the pepper and quarter the mushrooms. Chop onions into quarter-inch squares. Break off the end of the asparagus at the natural break, discard the end, and chop remainder in half. Remove basil leaves from stem and chop into smaller pieces. I used about 1.5 bunches of the basil.

3. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add in remaining vegetables, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until almost cooked through. Note: I used salt free tomato sauce and added about 1 tsp of salt into the veggies. 

4. Add in tomato sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes with the pan cover on.

5. Add noodles to veggie mix and serve immediately. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day!

And that’s it! 5 easy steps to gluten-free veggie pasta.

Optional: Add ground meat for those meat lovers.

Pasta, healthy, gluten free, dairy free

 

Vegetarian Lentil Soup To-Go

vegetarian, soup, healthy, holistic, weight loss, hormones, PCOS

vegetarian, soup, healthy, holistic, weight loss, hormones, PCOS

 

Do you struggle to find something quick and easy to bring to work for lunch? So do I! What does one do when they have loads of CSA veggies, little time, and a busy schedule? Turn on some good tunes and make a veggie lentil soup!! Duh. Make this on Sunday and you will have lunch for the week and then some. Throw the left-overs in the freezer for a night when you don’t have time to cook dinner or grab it on your way out the door in the morning.

Lentils provide protein and fiber while the veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals. There is a hefty amount of onions and garlic to keep your immune system strong during the cold and flu seasons.

Only 1 cup of chopped collard greens has 300% of your Vitamin A, 60% of Vitamin C, 27% of calcium, and 1000% of Vitamin K for your daily value (%DV) needed!! Wow, that is impressive! See this recipe for a delicious collard green and kale recipe.

Tip: Be sure to store your soup in glassware especially if it is still warm. Use a mason jar to prevent spillage!

Vegetarian, dairy-free, healthy, recipe, soup, lentil

Ingredients:

2 tomatoes chopped
1 Rutabaga chopped
1 Green pepper chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
1 large leek sliced
1 bunch of collard greens chopped
3 celery sticks chopped
32 ounces vegetable broth
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 sprigs fresh rosemary chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Penzy spice – get creative, I used their Mural of Flavor and Italian
Water to add as needed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup almost cooked lentils

Soup, lentil

Add ingredients to large crock-pot. Add water or additional vegetable broth to the consistency you desire. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

 

 Have a Happy Halloween!

~ Dr. Katie

Naturopathic Doctor in Woodbury and Edina, Minnesota

Vitamin D Part 1 – Mood. Energy. Immune System.

Vitamin D, mood, depression, anxiety, sunshine

Vitamin D, mood, depression, anxiety, sunshine

Levels of Vitamin D affect your mood, energy, and immune function.

As summer comes to an end so do our days of sunshine and Vitamin D up here in Minnesota. But no longer are the days where bone health is the only focus for vitamin D.

Do you ever feel sad, un-motived, or unable to enjoy the things you love for weeks or months? Depression and mood disorders have many different causes, but one place to look is at your vitamin D, or lack there of.

It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. Rates of deficiency in the US are on the rise. An NHANES study showed that about 40% of Americans have a subclinical deficiency and 30% are deficient. Only about 20% of Americans have sufficient vitamin D levels.

salmon, omega-3, healthy fat, nutritious, vitamin A

The skin is able to convert ultraviolet rays into vitamin D, but we cannot produce enough vitamin D from sunlight at latitudes above 42 degrees N most of the year. Minnesota is at 46 degrees N latitude. I’m sure you can do the math. This is especially important because it is not commonly found in foods. There are 2 forms of vitamin D in our diet – D2 (ergocalciferol) is in plant sources (mushrooms treated with UV, fortified cereals) and D3 (cholecalciferol) from animal products (fatty fish, eggs from chickens fed vitamin D).

Lack of sunlight exposure, over 65 years old, dark skin, certain medications, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and a baby exclusively breastfed without vitamin D supplementation can increase your risk for D deficiency.

Signs your Vitamin D might be low:

  • Depression
  • Throbbing bone pain – symmetric lower back pain, pelvis, legs
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pain with pressure over sternum or tibia
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

How does vitamin D affect my body?Vitamin D, immune, diabetes, lung health, cardiovascular

Vitamin D has a clear association with bone density, but there are numerous other disease processes that are affected by vitamin D. Studies show a relationship between D deficiency and autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Cancer (colon, breast, prostate, and pancreatic), high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders are also linked with D deficiency just to name a few. [2] Part 3 will cover the immune system in more detail.

Does vitamin D affect my mood?

Your mood can also be impacted by your vitamin D status. More research is needed to better understand how, but studies have revealed that low vitamin D levels are more prominent in those with depression. [3]

Another study showed an improvement in scores on the Becks Depression Inventory II, 3 months after high dose vitamin D treatment compared to those without vitamin D treatment. [4] This indicates that vitamin D can be helpful for those with depression.

Those suffering from fibromyalgia often have symptoms of anxiety and depression. One study looked at vitamin D levels in those with fibromyalgia and how it is connected to depression and anxiety. They found that patients with vitamin D deficiency scored higher on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS). However, they did not notice a relationship between vitamin D status and musculoskeletal symptoms of the disease. [5] So while vitamin D may not reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia, it can improve your mood.

Therapy, mental health, homeopathy, depression

 

Mood disorders and vitamin D were reviewed by the Journal of Midwifery Womens Health. They found that premenstrual syndrome (PMS), seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder in women were associated with low levels of vitamin D in various studies. [6] Researchers looked at 6 women with low levels of vitamin D. They were evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after vitamin D supplementation. Their levels of vitamin D increased while their BDI scores decreased significantly by an average of 10 points. While this was a small population, it showed that vitamin D can reduce symptoms of depression in females with low vitamin D levels.

 

There seems to be a clear association between vitamin D and mood disorders, especially in those who are deficient. When was the last time your vitamin D was tested? I frequently recommend a simple blood test for patients to evaluate their vitamin D status.  This is important to establish a safe dosage of vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat soluble; therefore high doses are not needed long-term and can become harmful if taken too long. There are many health benefits to take vitamin D, but it is important to consult with a qualified health professional whenever beginning a new supplement regimen.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

As a Naturopathic Doctor in the Twin Cities (Edina and Woodbury), I frequently test blood levels of Vitamin D. Call or schedule online if you are interested in testing your vitamin D levels and to better understand an appropriate protocol for your health.

 

 

References:

  1. Priemel M., von Domarus C., Klatte T.O., et al:  Bone mineralization defects and vitamin D deficiency: histomorphometric analysis of iliac crest bone biopsies and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 675 patients.  Journal of Bone and Mineral Research305-312.2010;
  2. Cianferotti, L., Marcocci C.: Subclinical Vitamin D Deficiency. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. V 26, issue 4. 2012.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis.
Anglin RE – Br J Psychiatry – 01-FEB-2013; 202: 100-7
  4. The effect of 2 different single injections of high dose of vitamin D on improving the depression in depressed patients with vitamin D deficiency: a randomized clinical trial.
Mozaffari-Khosravi H – J Clin Psychopharmacol – 01-JUN-2013; 33(3): 378-85
  5. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.
Armstrong DJ – Clin Rheumatol – 01-APR-2007; 26(4): 551-4
  6. Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review.
Murphy PK – J Midwifery Womens Health – 01-SEP-2008; 53(5): 440-6

5 Foods Needed To Balance Your Hormones

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Did you know that your diet can impact your hormones?! And I am not just talking about hormones like estrogen and testosterone, this includes thyroid and adrenal hormones too. The thyroid produces T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism. The adrenals are responsible for dealing with stress (cortisol) and blood pressure (aldosterone), but they also produce progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen. A poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can cause your endocrine system to be off balance.

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Why do I feel…?

  • Tired and unmotivated?
  • Easily overwhelmed?
  • Sleepy after lunch?
  • Very sensitive to cold or hot?
  • Dizzy when going from sitting to standing?
  • Stressed? (doesn’t everyone?!)
  • Insomnia or un-refreshing sleep?
  • Like you can’t kick your carb cravings

Do you ever notice…

  • Excess hair falling out?
  • Weight gain around your abdomen?
  • Heavy or painful menses?
  • PMS?
  • Irregular cycle?
  • Hot flashes?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the items listed, your hormones could use a nutritional boost! Here is the list of foods that help support your ovaries, adrenals, and thyroid.

Broccoli, detox, health, resolution, weight, hormones

  1. Broccoli and his cruciferous cousins.

Your liver is the powerhouse behind all hormones, working behind the scenes to allow your hormones to express themselves when needed. Your liver also has to power through junk like sugar, processed foods, toxins, alcohol, excess fat, and even medications. Our liver needs all the help it can get and cruciferous veggies, also known as Brassica, are just the answer.

Broccoli and his other green friends contain sulphur compounds that support the detoxification pathways and fat metabolism. Glucosinolates which are metabolized to form  indole-3-carbinol or I3C and DIM in theses green veggies may help also prevent cancers like breast, cervical, colon, and prostate. But, not only are your liver and endocrine systems supported by these veggies, your bones benefit from the calcium and they lower homocysteine levels to protect your heart. Wow! So, which veggies do you need to include in your diet? Swiss chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, radish, rapini, arugula, spinach, turnip, kale, and bok choy.

Tip: Cook them to destroy goitrogenic effects that can slow down an already sluggish thyroid. See this veggie recipe and this one too.

Seaweed, nutrition, health, hormones

  1. Seaweed

For those of you in Minnesota, I am not talking about the seaweed at your nearest lake. This is seaweed from the ocean that you might find wrapped around your favorite sushi roll, seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant or in one of my favorite snacks – roasted seaweed.

Thyroid hormones production requires iodine and seaweed is very high in iodine. A deficiency can cause thyroid problems, goiter, and stunted growth in children.

Tip: Iodized salt and fish also contain iodine. Do not take an iodine supplement without checking with your doctor first.

Brazil Nuts, thyroid, selenium

  1. Brazil Nuts

6-8 brazil nuts (1 oz) provide 10x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults. Wow! But, why is selenium so important?

Remember our friend iodine from #2? Selenium helps attach iodine to the thyroid hormones. The thyroid has the highest concentration of Selenium in all the organs in the body. Selenium also protects the thyroid and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Anti-body (anti-TPO) levels in those with Hashimoto’s disease have been improved with Selenium supplementation as well.

Tip: You can also find our friend and antioxidant, Vitamin E in brazil nuts. 4 nuts per day is plenty.

PCOS, infertility, citrus, health

  1. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

Stress on your body triggers the adrenals to produce more cortisol. This is caused by  emotional (work, relationships, worry, anxiety, etc) or physical stress (illness, injury, exercise), lack of sleep, caffeine, and alcohol.

When there is excess or chronic stress, cortisol and sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) become imbalanced. Adrenal hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain, osteoporosis, weakness, weakened immune function, and irregular menses.

So, why citrus fruits? The adrenal glands and brain have more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. During stress more vitamin C is used or lost. See the correlation between stress – lower vitamin C – greater susceptibility to infections? Citrus fruits, especially oranges are known for their high concentration of vitamin C.

Tip: eat the whole fruit including the skin (not the peel, but the fibers around the pulp) to gain the most nutrients and fiber from your fruit.

Diet, protein, PCOS, infertility, acne

  1. Protein

More protein and less sugar! The adrenal glands help with blood sugar regulation. When your body is stressed it makes more glucose (sugar) to give your body the energy it needs to cope with the stress. Because you already have enough glucose, you do not need to consume more, but need protein for energy. In fact, consuming too much sugar during times of stress puts even more stress on your adrenals, not to mention the rest of your body. Think about it…excess stress –> poor dietary habits and more sugar –> weight gain –> more stress. Stop the cycle by cutting out the sugar and increasing your protein intake.

Tip: Protein includes animal protein, but also beans, lentils, veggies like spinach, nuts, and seeds.

Thank you for reading and we wish you balance in your life and your hormones!

~ Dr. Katie Corazzo

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Nutrition is essential to our health. If you continue to have hormonal imbalances and would like to seek out natural therapies with naturopathic medicine, call your local Naturopathic Doctor or Dr. Katie for a complimentary 10 minute consultation. She practices in Edina and Woodbury Minnesota, but patients come from all over the twin cities. Dr. Katie uses alternative medicine and holistic care to uncover the root cause of imbalance. We hope to hear from you soon! 612-564-2218

References:

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046013
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10403185
  • http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4635&channel_id=44&relation_id=48472
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/i3c/

Do You Want To Have A Healthy Holiday?

Vegetables

Vegetables

Here are Dr. Katie’s 10 tips for a healthy holiday season:

1. Focus on MAINTAINING your weight and your activity level

This is usually not a great time to focus on losing weight.

weight loss

2. Bring healthy food options to the party

Nutrition, health, weight, holistic

 

  • Appetizer: Fresh veggies and hummus or fruit (it’s all about presentation here!)
  • Side dish: Roasted sweet potatoes and apples, baked asparagus, etc.
  • Turkey: Use an herbs to give the meat flavor
  • Dessert: Dairy free and gluten-free options, you might not be able to get away with bringing a “healthy” dessert, so watch your portion size here or skip it all together. Bring something you don’t like, but other people do.

3. Watch your portions and chose 1 or 2 things to splurge on

4. Hide the cookies!

Refrigerator

The freezer is a great place to hide cookies. Think about whether you really want those cookies while you wait for them to un-thaw. If the answer is “yes”, then see #8!

5. Don’t leave bowls of M&Ms and snack food around the house

6. Eat your veggies first

Eating

7. Drink plenty of water! At least ½ your body weight in ounces

Water

8. If you eat something on the naughty list, ENJOY it!

Cute Baby

Be choosy about when and what you indulge in (I am a chocolate kind of girl), and then enjoy it, otherwise what is the point?!

9. Be wise in your drink choices

drinks

  • Egg Nog: ½ cup
  • Traditional Egg Nog = 200 calories
  • Coconut or Soy Milk Egg Nog = 90 calories

Alcohol:

  • Liquor = 64 cal/oz (watch what you put in your alcohol)
  • Red and white wine = 120 cal / 5 oz

Beer:

  • IPA = 180 calories/bottle
  • Honey Weiss = 149 calories / bottle
  • Crispin Hard Cider = 170 calories / bottle
  • Michelob Ultra = 95 calories / bottle
  • Angry Orchard = 210 calories / bottle

Hot chocolate with water = 90 cal & 8g sugar / cup

  • Hot chocolate with milk = 192 cal / cup

Coffee shop drinks:

  • Medium White Turtle Mocha 610 cal & 73g sugar
  • Medium Pumpkin Spiced Latte 380 Cal, 49g sugar
  • Medium coffee with soy 15 calories, 1g sugar

10. Keep a bag of nuts with you. If you are hungry and do not have healthy options, snack on nuts until you get home or can find a place with healthy options.

squirrel-nut

Safe travels and have a very happy holiday season!

~Dr. Katie Corazzo

Picture Sources:

1. https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/6558034d/maintain-weight-loss-f.png
2. http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Healthy-Holiday-Tree.html
4. www.whirlpool.com
5: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2011/12/peanut-butter-mm-pretzel-kisses.html
7. http://edgeofseven.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/projects-making-a-splash-world-water-day/
8. http://news.asiantown.net/r/19889/i/1/5/51356
9. http://www.partyblog.mygrafico.com/creative-holiday-drink-recipes/
10. http://wallpapersfor.me/squirrel-nut/

Should I Be Gluten Free?!

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Gluten, gluten free, health, nutrition, holistic, digestion, allergies, celiac

“Gluten Free”, “Celiac Friendly”, “Gluten Sensitive”, and “May contain Gluten” are a few phrases that are becoming more common in society today. But is this just another fad? Or is gluten a real problem?! First, let’s talk about what gluten is and the symptoms it may cause. Then I will discuss the difference between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease. And finally, what to do about it.

What is gluten and where do I find it? 

Gluten is a protein found naturally in all forms of wheat including barley and rye. Grains need the elasticity gluten provides to help it rise while keeping its shape.  Starch and binders often contain gluten as well and are used in various other products. Even the ‘paleos’ out there aren’t safe from gluten!

Gluten is not just found in grains, but also alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, some medications and supplements, soy sauce, lunch meat, imitation bacon and  seafood, sauces, and even brown rice syrup can contain gluten. Your friend, family member, neighbor, or even you might be sensitive to gluten, yet it is hidden everywhere!

Gluten has only been in the American diet for the past 300 years. May sound like a long time, but in terms of evolution, it is very short. In addition to this being “new” in our diet, it is also found more commonly in our foods. Now 90% of American foods contain gluten! Wow. Maybe too much of a something, isn’t such a good thing?

What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity?

1/133 people in the US have the genetic condition, celiac disease. It is an autoimmune condition of the intestines. The immune system reacts to the gluten proteins found in food. This immune reaction results in injury and inflammation inside the intestines. Diagnosing celiac disease requires blood testing and an intestinal biopsy to confirm.

Delayed growth, poor appetite, and irritability are common symptoms seen in children. Adults might experience diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and/or infertility. Celiac disease is also linked to other autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, graves disease, diabetes mellitus type I, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Addison’s disease. The treatment for celiac disease is the elimination of all gluten from the diet, a matter of life or death in some cases. Even 1/8 of a cracker can continue causing inflammation and damage to the intestine.

You might be wondering why avoiding gluten makes you feel better, yet you don’t have celiac disease. Well, you can still have a sensitivity to gluten. There are thousands of people avoiding gluten and have noticed that they have more energy, lose weight, and their digestion improves.

Gluten sensitivity is the same as a delayed food allergy where the symptoms may not present for 48 hours after ingesting gluten. Body wide inflammation can result in a variety of different reactions. The symptoms of a sensitivity are generally less severe than celiac disease and may include fatigue, chronic colds, skin problems, asthma, abdominal pain, arthritis, and/or ADHD. One way to figure out if you are sensitive to gluten is to avoid it. If you feel better, it is likely that you are sensitive to gluten or have celiac in rare cases. Blood testing is also available.

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Eating Gluten Free

People generally report losing weight and feeling better when on a Gluten free diet. I believe this is partly due to potential food allergies, but avoiding gluten also naturally results in a cleaner diet. A gluten-free diet requires diligent label reading – check out the ingredients in your products, you might be surprised! The good news? Veggies, fruit, brown rice, quinoa, eggs, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, nuts, and beans are just a few of the foods that are naturally gluten free! These are much better choices than bread, cereal, pasta, microwave dinners, cookies, crackers, and frozen pizza. Do you see my point?! Everyone can handle varying amounts of gluten in their diet, it’s up to you to determine how much YOUR body can tolerate.

Still aren’t sure whether you have celiac or gluten sensitivity? I can help you determine if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. I can also help you incorporate this often big change with more information.

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath