Immune System Support 101 – ZINC

supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, natural treatments, naturopathic doctor, edina, woodbury, mn, covid, corona, virus

There are many natural treatments that provide immune system support. You can even find some of these remedies in your very own kitchen! Zinc is just one of the many great natural immune supports.

supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, natural treatments, naturopathic doctor, edina, woodbury, mn

Please know Dr. Katie and Dr. Julia are available for virtual video and phone visits right now and would love to help you and your family with any health concerns.

Today we are going to talk about zinc! I think about immune function first with zinc. I also think about zinc in children, elderly, and pregnant or breastfeeding moms as these populations are more likely to have low zinc levels.

The body does not store very much zinc. Most of it is not readily available which is why taking a supplement can be critical.

Zinc is a mineral like iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper. When taking a mineral in supplement form, it is important to think about dosage and timing, because they can compete with each other for absorption. Zinc can be taken daily in lower doses and slightly higher with an acute infection.

Vitamin C helps with absorption of zinc and iron. Studies show that people experience less symptoms and recover more quickly when taking zinc and vitamin C together. Zinc and iron on the other hand compete for absorption so they should be taken separately.

Benefits of zinc

  • Helps lower inflammation
  • Immune system support
  • Associated with taste and smell
  • Especially beneficial for children and the elderly as they are often deficient
  • Sperm production and testosterone metabolism
  • Reduces pregnancy complications
  • Burn and wound healing
  • Antioxidant

Foods high in zinc

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Oysters
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Red meat
  • Chicken and pork
  • Oysters
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy

 I hope you learned something about zinc today and will begin to include it in your diet and supplements if you weren’t already.

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Dr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in natural treatments that address the root cause of disease. We offer 15 minute consultations by phone. You can schedule online.

 

 

 

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/4/1181/htm
  2. https://www.infezmed.it/media/journal/Vol_28_2_2020_9.pdf

8 Home Remedies For the Common Cold

home remedies for the common cold
You wash your hands, you stay away from others when they are sick, and you eat your fruits and veggies. You do all of these things, and yet those pesky viruses have still found a way into your body.

Eat Your Medicine

An unfortunately timed upper respiratory infection has attacked you like the common cold.  Did you know adults get about 2 to 4 colds each year? Children are double that, getting on average 6 to 8 colds each year. That is a lot of sick people to try to avoid. No wonder you have landed yourself with a cold.

Regardless of statistics, your nose is a faucet, your throat is sore and scratchy, and your pile of tissues on the coffee table makes you consider becoming the world’s next Jenga champion.

You know you will get better eventually, but right now you would like some relief. Life doesn’t slow down when you are sick, and you are ready to start feeling better, like yesterday. Natural home remedies for the common cold are becoming increasingly popular since people are getting more serious about their health.

So go ahead, curl up on the couch with a blanket (you deserve to because you’re sick) and continue reading below to find eight ways you can eat your medicine. That’s right, eat it. (And technically drink it for some of them.) The best part about the following list of natural home remedies is the fact that most of these ingredients are already sitting in your kitchen.

8 Home Remedies for the Common Cold

Some of these remedies are old favorites that you might already know, but some might surprise you and become your next favorite cold go-to.

1. Honey

Honey is liquid gold. It is high in nutrients and enzymes which help kill the nasty cold viruses. Honey will coat your throat and help protect it from the extra mucus which is causing your throat to be sore. Honey can also be given to adults and children with sore throats before bed to help them sleep.

Best Ways to Eat Honey

  • A spoonful of honey!
  • Add honey to your tea
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey. Take every 2 hours

Note: You should only give honey to children that are over 1 year old

2. Ginger

Ginger has a long history in medicines, so what is so unique about it? Ginger has some essential medicinal properties like antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It will help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways to Eat Ginger

  • Eat raw ginger
  • Ginger Tea
  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Add 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Take off heat for another 5 minutes
  • Strain
  • Add a little lemon juice and honey, then enjoy.

Chicken Soup

3. Chicken Soup

Chicken soup and colds go hand in hand. Good thing it is delicious as well as nutritious. While you are slurping down this delightful soup, you are doing your body another favor. The soup is full of ingredients that help fight off the infection. So go ahead and have a second bowl, or third.

Best Ways to Eat Chicken Soup

  • Homemade chicken soup using organic vegetables and chicken will provide you with the best ingredients
  • Bowl and spoon

4. Red Onion

Yes, red onion. When you inhale red onion oils, relief from your cold symptoms might feel immediate. Also, since red onions are high in antioxidants, they can help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways To Eat Red Onion

  • Red onion syrup
  • In a mason jar, alternate layers of a thinly sliced onion and raw honey. Repeat until the jar is full. Cover for 12-15 hours.
  • Drink a spoonful of syrup often during the day for relief

5. Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine which is known to help open up the airways. That can help with breathing and reduce coughing. Since there is probably pepper sitting on your counter next to your stove, go ahead and add some to your next meal.

Best Ways to Eat Black Pepper

  • Sprinkle on meal
  • Gargle 1 tsp with warm water
  • Smell it (just smelling pepper can help open up your airways)

6. Garlic

Garlic is known to be antibacterial and antiviral which will help give your immune system an extra boost. Like pepper, garlic can help open up airways to make breathing more comfortable, but it can also flush out toxins from your body which will help you recover faster. (More on the healing benefits of garlic.)

Best Ways to Eat Garlic

  • Munch on raw garlic cloves
  • Garlic paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder). Eat daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Add fresh chopped garlic to your food

Turmeric Milk

7. Turmeric Milk

Turmeric is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Turmeric milk will help with not only coughing but also body aches and headaches.

Note:  I suggest using unsweetened coconut milk…

Best Way to Drink Turmeric Milk

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can help a scratchy and sore throat in addition to helping fight off the infection. Cinnamaldehyde is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Best Ways to Eat Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon Tea
  • Combine 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon, 2 cloves, and 2 cups boiling water
  • Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Strain, let it cool, and enjoy!
  • For added benefits, and best results, add honey

There you have it: 8 home remedies for the common cold and upper respiratory infections.

Upper respiratory infections of any kind are never a welcomed experience. They are annoying, untimely, and they can make you feel miserable for days. People continue their daily lives feeling miserable until the cold goes away, but remember you will recover faster if you are taking care of yourself. Not only is it imperative to take care of yourself to get better, but it’s also important to take care of yourself, so you don’t get worse. A cold can turn into other more severe upper respiratory infections if untreated.

That means that you are getting proper sleep, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating and drinking foods that are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Please, stay home from work you deserve to rest and get better. There are so many simple, symptom-relieving foods available that you can try above. Check your cupboards to see what you have on hand already and give one of them a shot. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.

Note:  If you haven’t recovered in about two weeks or are catching colds frequently, it is time to check in with your doctor.

Self-Care Life Hacks for Women

Family, health, anxiety, mental health, depression, natural treatment

As women, we face more stress each day than we would ever let on. Between workplace discrimination, relationship issues, raising a family, and concerns about our nutrition and overall health. No wonder women are twice as likely as men to suffer from an anxiety disorder. Read on for a few simple life hacks that will help you improve your quality of life right now.

Healing, soup, postpartum, food, medicineNutrition

Our diets are a huge contributor to our mood…and waistline. A few key modifications to your daily dinner grind can help you relax at night.

Keep it simple. Forget the fad diets that have you running all over town for the latest, greatest weight loss remedy. Chances are, it isn’t a sustainable nutrition cycle. Instead, focus on whole foods, including lean meats, colorful vegetables, in-season fruits, and complex carbohydrates.

Leave the boxes at the store. If it’s in a box, you should probably leave it on the shelf. Most chemically processed foods are full of additives, especially sugar. Excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain, poor oral hygiene, and stress. Even more alarming, many of your favorite snacks have been chemically altered over time to trigger the reward center of your brain and can lead to a food addiction.

Reduce shopping time. Make a list the day before you go grocery shopping. This will help keep you on track and get you in and out in nearly half the time. If you live in an area with online grocery shopping, you can order ahead, pick your food up, and be on your way home without ever stepping foot in the store where temptations are at every end-cap.

Make friends with the frozen section. While canned vegetables are easy and convenient, they also contain a number of additives including sodium, sulfites, and BPA – an industrial compound suspected to cause a number of health problems. Frozen vegetables, by contrast, are not preserved chemically and often contain nutrients similar to fresh-picked produce.

Time management, planning, anxiety, depression, mental health, nutrition

Time management

Time is our most precious commodity and there never seems to be enough to go around. Save a few valuable seconds with the following tips:

Remember your time has value. Even if you’re not a CEO or mortgage banker, your time is valuable. Don’t waste it doing things that don’t matter — time wasters such as scouring social media and flipping through fluff news stories on your phone each day. Cut that in half and you’ll have more time for the things that you really want to do. If you act like your time is worth $1000 an hour, you will act accordingly.

Quit multitasking. Women often feel pressure to live up to societal expectations regarding their careers, relationships, and parenting skills. Stop trying to do it all at once. Instead, block your days off into time chunks that you can set aside to do specific tasks. You’ll not only feel more accomplished but you’ll be less distracted all day long.

Finish the easiest tasks first. Each morning, make a list of what you have to do that day. Put your least time-consuming items at the top of that list. As you mark these off, you will gain momentum and likely get everything done as opposed to getting stuck on a difficult task and never making it to the small ones.

Family, health, anxiety, mental health, depression, natural treatmentRelationships

Perhaps you’re experiencing relationship issues or simply want to set the foundation for a healthy partnership. Either way, pay attention to the little things and watch your relationship flourish in a big way.

Make time for each other. We already know that time is an asset and one that we must be willing to share with our partners in order to create a strong relationship.

Broaden your circle. While you should set aside your most intimate moments for your partner, don’t rely on one person to fill all of your social and emotional needs. Spend time with friends, especially those that share common interest where you and your partner don’t see eye to eye.

 

Author: Julia Merrill (BefriendYourDoc.org)

Sunscreen & Vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin DThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. More time outside means more sunscreen for a lot of people. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They recommend that sunscreen should be used as a last resort. Dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. Brands are chosen based on their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

The toxins and chemicals from sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

Vitamin D, depression, anxiety

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are many factors associated with getting vitamin D from the sun, it is often hard to measure.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include: fatigue, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, depression, decreased immunity. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. I recommend having your vitamin D tested through a simple blood test. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie specializes in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.

Could You Be Suffering From Candida?

Digestion, IBS, celiac, colitis

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

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

Say it with me “I am so done with the sugar!”. Yep, you said it, its 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:

  • 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.

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.

 

 

Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

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.

human-heart

  • 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.

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

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!).

Top 10 Sleep Tips For Babies

Sleep, fatigue, adrenal

sleep, baby, infant, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

Welcome Baby Care is a local business in Edina here to support moms and their babies pre and postpartum. Doulas, lactation consultants and in home care are their specialties. They have lots of experience and here are their favorite sleep tips for your babies from 4-12 months.

1. No Solids at Bedtime

Solids offer little nutritional value at this age. The primary source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life is human milk or formula. Solids can also be difficult for an immature digestive system to digest and can often cause or exacerbate reflux, gas or tummy pain – all things which disrupt sleep! Offer solids no later than 5pm.

2. Tank Baby Up

Cluster feeding in the evenings is normal for breastfeeding babies! Melatonin levels in mother’s milk increase in the evening hours, helping baby sleep. Offer baby breast or bottle shortly before bedtime in a room other than Baby’s bedroom so that he learns to break the feeding-sleep association. Watch for drowsiness and end the feed at this point, putting baby down sleepy.

3. Choose a Bedtime Between 6 and 8 p.m.

Infants are biologically wired to go bed early! 11-12 hours is the expected amount of sleep needed, broken up by 1-2 feeding sessions. Choose a time that you can be consistent with and can commit to, taking into account both Baby’s needs and the family’s schedule.

4. White Noise

A must have! Infants are comforted by those womb sounds that they heard for 9 months. The noise should be not too loud, but not too quiet. Water sounds work well.

5. Darken Baby’s Room

The darker the better. No night lights. Black out shades are recommended, especially for naps and during the summer months.

Sleep, fatigue, adrenal6. Clear Out the Crib

Remove toys, mobiles and playthings. Keep the bed a place for sleeping only! It’s not a bad idea to limit active play in Baby’s room in general.

7. Add a Lovey

For babies 6 months and older, learning to emotionally self-regulate can be advanced by attachment to a soft inanimate object. Lovies need to have a FACE. Faces are processed in the emotion centers of the brain, triggering positive, calming responses.

8. Lower the Temperature

A cooler sleep environment keeps Baby from overheating. Set your thermostat at 68-72 for the night.

9. Consider a Dream-Feed

Feed Baby when YOU want go to bed (usually between 9 and 11 p.m. or about 3 hours from baby’s bedtime feed) either breast or bottle, even if Baby is sleeping and not cueing for food and especially if she wakes frequently for feeds or is in an active growth spurt. Do not wake Baby fully – just offer and see what she takes!

10. Reduce Stimulation

At least 1 hour prior to bedtime, quiet the home. Turn off TV, silence the phones and dim the lights. Engage Baby in quiet, calm interactions only! A bath may or may not be recommended, depending on Baby’s temperament. 30 minutes prior to bedtime, change Baby into PJs and a clean diaper. Add diaper cream! Sleeping through a wet diaper requires prevention for diaper rash.

 

Thank you Welcome Baby Care!

Top 8 Naturopathic Sleep Remedies

Insomnia, tea, coffee, chamomile, natural treatment

insomnia, anxiety

Most people know they need 8 hours of sleep. This is not new news, but the National Institutes of Health reported that 30% of adults were sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Did they miss the memo or were they overthinking, anxious, worrying, restlessness, in pain, uncomfortable, or was their mind racing so much it impacted their sleep?

Did you know that 27.6% of people in Minnesota sleep less than 7 hours per night according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). They also found that more than half of Minnesota snores, and here is a scary fact: 3.1% have nodded off or fell asleep while driving within the past month. Yikes.

Sleeping is more than just about having good energy, feeling your best, and staying safe on the road. Sleep is also critical for preventing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and anxiety. Here are some problems that can result from not sleeping the full 7-8 hours per night:

Holistic, naturopathic, natural medicine

So what can you do to improve your sleep?

Chamomile tea, insomnia, sleep, anxiety1. Chamomile Tea

Turn on relaxing music and sip on this calming herb at night before bedtime. Chamomile tea is a great natural treatment for sleep that is safe in pregnancy. Always check with your doctor before using however.

2. Melatonin

This hormone is made in the brain to regulate the sleep and wake cycle. Melatonin is secreted when it is dark and broken down in the light. Do you notice feeling tired earlier in the evening during the shorter winter days? Melatonin could be to blame.

The adrenals send out cortisol during times of stress. As cortisol increases with stress, your body responds by reducing melatonin. Lower levels of melatonin during chronic stress can begin to affect your sleep. Stress reducing techniques are equally if not more important and adrenal support may be necessary.

Tip: If you feel drowsy the morning after taking melatonin, you have taken too much. Dosage is important with this natural sleep treatment.

3. Exercise

Exhaust your energy during the day so you will be ready to sleep. Be wary of exercising late at night as this can prevent you from falling asleep. Studies have revealed that those who exercise experience more restful sleep; however if exercise (cardio specifically) is done later in the day it can have the opposite effect. One study looked at the effect weight lifting has on sleep when performed at 7 AM, 1 PM, or 7 PM. They noticed that the early morning workouts resulted in the subject falling asleep faster, but the 7 PM workouts led to a more restful sleep. The bottom line is that exercise improves sleep, so just do it.

4. Hydrate smart

water, hydrate, dehydrationDo you fall asleep easily, but wake several times during the night to use the bathroom? If so, it is time to rethink your hydration schedule. Drink water and caffeine earlier in the day. My rule is no caffeine after 3 PM. If you are like me and crave warm beverages in the winter, reach for an herbal tea or hot water and lemon. Check the label to make sure it is caffeine free.

Pair water with dinner, but slowly sip in the evening if bathroom trips are waking you at night. Soda should be avoided regardless of your sleep patterns, but especially if you have problems sleeping. Soda contains sugar, sweeteners, and caffeine – 3 no-no’s for sleep.

 

Protein, health, insomnia, heart disesase

5. Eat for your sleep

When and what you eat is important to consider when improving your sleep. Avoid eating within 2 hours of going to sleep. Find yourself reaching for a carb or something sweet in the late afternoon? What about at night? This might be an sign that your adrenals need a little help. The sugar can help with energy for a short time, but a crash usually follows. Combine carbs and sweets with a little protein to help protect your blood sugar.

In a review by The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine they stated that, “…difficulty falling asleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; difficulty maintaining sleep was associated with decreased protein, carbohydrate, and fiber intake; non-restorative sleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; and daytime sleepiness was associated with decreased protein and fiber and increased sugar intakes.” The common denominator seems to be protein and fiber. Include good quality protein at meals and snacks and don’t forget about your veggies and whole grains for fiber.

Foods to improve sleep: nuts, eggs, fish, bananas, walnuts, and pineapple

Foods to avoid: meat, spicy foods, fried foods, rich and/or salty, alcohol, coffee, caffeine 

6. Magnesium

Do you enjoy taking a bath before bedtime? Soak in an epsom salt bath to increase your magnesium. Magnesium dilates blood vessels and is relaxing to muscles. Relax with a cup of chamomile tea while in the bath for added benefits! Magnesium is a great natural treatment for sleep.

Sleep, app, track, insomnia

7. Track your sleep with sleep app or fitbit 

Do you wake feeling unrefreshed? If the answer is yes, your sleep may be compromised. Oftentimes we don’t realize that we aren’t sleeping through the night, but a sleep app or the fitbit can help you find out. This is also helpful when beginning a new regimen. The app can help track your progress – is the new protocol working, or not?

8. Sleep Hygiene! 

  • Eliminate sleeping pills, alcohol, or recreational drugs. Naturopathic medicine can help you with this.
  • Avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime – turn off the TV and other electronics
  • Stick to the same bedtime every night, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before and want to crash early. This also means avoiding naps during the day, because they make it more difficult to stick to a sleep schedule at night.
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only!
  • Maximize your sleeping environment – comfortable mattress and pillow, temperature, dark, quiet, etc.
  • Sorry pets, but you need to sleep elsewhere.
  • Read, meditate, or take a hot bath before sleeping
  • Focus on your breathing – breath for 4 counts in, hold for 4, release breath for 4, and hold for 4. Repeat. This helps stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.

If you struggle with reflux, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, diabetes, restless leg, or have a medical issue that interferes with your sleep, seek medical care with your Naturopathic Doctor. Dr. Katie can help those of you who may not know what is causing your sleeping issues and find natural treatments for your sleep. 

Thanks for reading friends!

Katie Corazzo, ND

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

This list is not account for individual differences or specific medical concerns. Dr. Katie treats sleeping issues and conditions that cause insomnia by addressing the underlying issue using natural medicine. She practices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota and would be happy to chat with you if you have any questions about her services. You can also schedule appointments and complimentary 15 minute consults online