Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top 5 Ways to Improve Digestion

Annex Naturopathic

Ways to Improve Digestion - Fresh Salad | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

Digestive concerns are very common issue that we see here at Annex Naturopathic Clinic.

The following are some important tips to consider if you currently are experiencing or do experience digestive problems.

1. Chew your food.

A wise man once said, “your stomach doesn’t have teeth” and that’s one of the reasons we must thoroughly chew our food.

An integral part of the digestive process starts in our mouths.

Chewing, alongside the digestive enzymes in our saliva, starts the process of breaking down food so that the stomach acid and other enzymes released further down the gastrointestinal tract are better able to function.

Not chewing your food leads to symptoms of indigestion and decreases nutrient absorption.

2. Stop multi-tasking.

Our brain and our gut are connected.

When our brain is focused on tasks other than eating (replying to emails, driving, Instagram, ect.) our body is not is an ideal position to digest food.

Not to mention we often we faster and larger quantities when we are multi-tasking.

3. Slow down and relax.

To build of the last point, when you stop multi-tasking and slow down before you eat you allow the body to settle into its “parasympathetic” nervous system, also know as our “rest and digest” nervous system.

When we are on-the-go, working or multi-tasking our “sympathetic” nervous system is predominant.

When we are in this state, we are primed to be on alert, with blood flow moving towards our brain and periphery- away from on digestive tract.

Taking a few deep breaths and relaxing while you eat (eating with others helps) you will digest your meal better.

Ways to Improve Digestion - Healthy Eating | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

4. Avoid excess liquids around meals.

A common misconception regarding diet is that we should drink a lot of water with our meals.

This is problematic as excess liquid intake around meals will actually dilute our gastric juices- like stomach acid and other digestive enzymes- making it harder to break down food.

It is best to avoid drinking large quantities of water or other liquids 30 minutes before and after meals.

Sipping beverages with your meal will not cause an issues.

5. Eat when you are hungry.

Often people are eating for other reasons than hunger.

People eat because it is lunchtime- even though they may have ate a late breakfast.

People eat because they are tired, stressed, bored or sad.

Making sure you are actually hungry when you eat will improve digestion as your body is primed to receive food.

You’ll notice when you are hungry and you see your food and can sense you saliva production begin to increase.

At this point, you should implement the above 4 points and have significantly improved digestion.

 

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,


Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1
-https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


To learn additional ideas about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: toronto naturopaths


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Vanilla Pecan Milk Chai Lattes


So, by now you all know that I don't drink regular milk. I do enjoy cheese occasionally, and I love greek yogurt, but regular milk… no matter if it's just a little, it's just not my thing (although, my entire … Go to the recipe...

The post Vanilla Pecan Milk Chai Lattes appeared first on Love and Lemons.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Botanical of the Month – Echinacea spp

Annex Naturopathic

Benefits of Echinacea spp | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopaths

On the theme of cold and flu season, as a Toronto ND I thought it would be appropriate to talk about one of the most commonly used botanical remedies for viral and bacterial infections - Echinacea spp.

Echinacea is also one of the most researched herbs in the world, with much of the research centred around its effects on boosting immune health and killing off pathogens, which is why it’s such a valuable herb during this season.

There are different types of Echinacea, with three species being the most commonly sold as medicine: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, and Echinacea palladium.

Most of the research that supports the medicinal value of Echinacea is mainly centred around Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea, and should be the type of Echinacea you should choose which looking for a good brand.

For the rest of the article, I will refer to Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea when outlining the medicinal value of Echinacea spp.

Echinacea, also known by its descriptive name, Purple Cone Flower, is part of the Asteraceae (Composite) family, and Native to North America, mainly growing in the Western prairie states, such as Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas.1

The plant grows to about 2-3 feet high, blooms from June to August and reveals purple and rose petals.

Echinacea is a relatively new plant to botanical medicine, as it is rarely mentioned in texts older than 1850.

From there, the antibiotic/antiviral properties of Echinacea were described in medicinal writings as a “blood-purifying”, being used for conditions such as ulcerated sore throats, internal abscesses, malarial fevers, cholera, and insect/reptile bites.1

These findings have paved the way for abundance of research supporting the effects of Echinacea in the treatment of infections.

Native American medicine mainly used this plant for topical infections, such as wounds, burns and insect bites.2

Parts Used

Root (some preparations use aerial parts as well)

How does Echinacea protect your body from viral and bacterial infections

The medicinal properties of Echinacea reveal that it has the best effect when used to PREVENT infection, and at the FIRST SIGNS of infection.

Echinacea directly repairs damaged tissue caused by the infection.

When a pathogen first infects a mucous membrane, such as the back of the throat, it will activate an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which breaks down our protective tissue and mucus, allowing the virus to enter the tissue and cause inflammation (and therefore pain).

Echinacea can prevent this process through inhibiting the hyaluronidase activity and by reinforcing the connective tissue, and preventing the pathogen to infiltrate the tissue infect.2,3

Echinacea boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.3,4,5 

One of the immune-stimulating mechanisms involve activating our macrophages, which are important for killing off pathogens and removing them and other cellular debris from the area.3,4,6 

This process aids in reducing inflammation, preventing the spread of infection, and improving healing time.

Echinacea appears to enhance the innate immune system (our first line of defence) as well as reducing biochemicals produced by our bodies that stimulate inflammation, such as TNF-α, COX-1 and COX-2.

Biochemicals in Echinacea responsible for these effects include alkamides and caffeic acid, and long sugars called polysacchrides.5,6

a field of Echinacea spp | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopaths

Does Echinacea Work?

In 2014, a Cochrane Review was published claiming that Echinacea did not appear to be effective in treating the common cold, and may have potential benefit in preventing the cold.7

While this may not be an encouraging statement on the value of Echinacea, the results from this study are more-so based on the lack available studies, rather than the inefficiency of the herb itself.

There is a plethora of pharmacological evidence that shows Echinacea boosting immune activity and exhibit anti-pathogenic qualities, but we don’t seem to have enough well-designed clinical studies to prove its benefit - YET.

Bottom line is that we need more studies that prove Echinacea works.

Many physicians see Echinacea work in clinical practice.

Anecdotal evidence finds the dosing and timing of Echinacea is an important factor on whether it will work.

Based in its pharmacological profile, it makes sense to dose Echinacea at first signs of a cold, preventing the virus to spread.

Once a virus infects your body systemically, it’s unlikely that anything at this point will prevent you from feeling sick.

At this point, the anti-inflammatory and immuno-stimulating effects of Echinacea can help by reducing the severity of the infection and preventing the worsening of the condition, such as being infected by a secondary pathogen (like other viruses and bacteria) causing conditions such as pneumonia.

Don’t expect anything to “get rid” of the cold once you’re sick - your body has to go through the process of ridding the body of the infection, which is the only way to recover, and Echinacea can help your body do exactly this.

Safety

Echinacea has been confirmed to be a safe herbal medicine in with minimal side effects and adverse event profile, which no toxicological concerns when ingested for up to 6 months.8,9,10

Echinacea used in children for cough and cold is generally well-tolerated, but can increase the risk of rash in children with atopic disease such as allergies and eczema and therefore should be used with caution.10   Children should only be given Echinacea on the advice from a qualified doctor who has strong training in herbal medicine.

Echinacea has also been found to be safe to use in pregnancy, with no increase in malformations and adverse effects in pregnancy, such as preterm birth, low birth weight,.10,11,12  However it’s best recommended to limit use to only when one is actively sick, or about to get sick while pregnant, and to be recommended by a qualified doctor trained in herbal medicine.10,12

Those who have a Asteraceae family allergy should stay away from Echinacea, and long-term use of Echinacea is not recommended for those with autoimmune disease.

Echinacea is a useful plant for the prevention and treatment for the common cold.

When Echinacea works, not only does it prevent duration and severity of cold, it reduces the need to use other medications riddled with adverse effects and a worse toxicity profile such as acetominophen, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Not to mention that these pharmaceuticals do not enhance immune anti-viral activity like Echincea has been proven to do.

With the help of a qualified doctor experienced in herbal medicine, Echinacea can be a valuable tool in your cold-prevention and treatment kit.


If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,


Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1
-https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


References

  1. King, J. King's American Dispensatory. Ohio Valley Company, 1898
  2. Tragni al. Evidence from two classic irritation tests for an anti-inflammatory action of a natural extract, Echinacina B.Food Chem Toxicol. 1985 Feb;23(2):317-9.
  3. Medical Herbalism: hoffman
  4. Tubaro et. al. Anti-inflammatory activity of a polysaccharidic fraction of Echinacea angustifolia.J Pharm Pharmacol. 1987 Jul;39(7):567-9.
  5. Aarland RC al Studies on phytochemical, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic and antiproliferative activities of Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia extracts.Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):649-656.
  6. Manayi A et. al. Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods.Pharmacogn Rev. 2015 Jan-Jun;9(17):63-72.
  7. Karsch-Völk M et. al. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Feb 20;(2)
  8. World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants, Volume 1, World Health Organization, 1999
  9. Jawad, M et. al. Safety and Efficacy Profile of Echinacea purpurea to Prevent Common Cold Episodes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 841315
  10. Ardjomand-Woelkart K, Bauer R. Review and Assessment of Medicinal Safety Data of Orally Used Echinacea Preparations.Planta Med. 2016 Jan;82(1-2):17-31.
  11. Heitmann K al. Pregnancy outcomes after prenatal exposure to echinacea: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2016 May;72(5):623-30.
  12. Perri D. et. al. Safety and efficacy of echinacea (Echinacea angustafolia, e. purpurea and e. pallida) during pregnancy and lactation.Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Fall;13(3):e262-7.
  13. Gallo M, Sarkar M, Au W, Pietrzak K, Comas B, Smith M, Jaeger TV, Einarson A, Koren G (2000) Pregnancy outcome following gestational exposure to echinacea: a prospective controlled study. Arch Intern Med 160(20):3141–3143

To find additional ways on health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: natural doctor


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

5 Immune Boosting Tips For Preventing Colds

Annex Naturopathic

5 Immune Boosting Tips For Preventing Colds | Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

The common cold is a viral infection that is highly contagious.

That is precisely why it can seems like everyone is sick at the same time.

A combination of factors can increase the chance of getting sick: lack of sleep, exposure to other people who are sick, poor diet, stress, and nutritional deficiencies.

Being a naturoapthic doctor in Toronto, I see my share of patients with colds throughout the winter months.

Helping them take better control of their health is part of what I do.

Preventing colds in the first place is a great start for keeping yourself and those around you at your healthiest.

Here are 5 tips I share with my patients that should help prevent you from catching that cold that's going around this season:

1. Sleep.

Hopefully I can shed some new light (or perhaps darkness) on the subject.

Restful sleep is essential for optimizing our immune response.

Aspects of our modern lifestyle can drastically disrupt our sleep.

Do you lie in bed scrolling through Instagram and Facebook?

Maybe Netflix is streaming?

The light from our devices and the electromagnetic fields they emit (not to mention the cognitive stimulus) can adversely affect our bodies and sleep patterns.

Implementing a “no phones or laptops in the bedroom rule” will improve your sleep quality.

You may be thinking- “I can’t do that, my phone is my alarm clock, so it has to stay in my bedroom”.

No problem- set it to airplane mode and wifi off.

Your alarm will sound, but your phone won’t be lighting up, vibrating, buzzing or searching for wifi or network signals beside your head all night.

2. Vitamin C, and other Supplements and Herbs.

The options can see overwhelming , and the average person may not know which vitamins and herbs to take, in which form or how much.

Not to mention, all supplements aren't created equally.

Seeing a naturopathic doctor for a safe and effective protocol is advisable.

However, Vitamin C is a great start- you can safely supplement with about 2000 mg daily (be sure to take it in divided doses as it can cause diarrhea if taken all at once).

You may be wondering if drinking orange juice would be a good idea when you have a cold.

Unfortunately it’s not going to help, as the juice is high in sugar content and it would take 25 oranges to obtain 2000 mg of vitamin C.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in immune function.

Canadian guidelines recommend that we supplement with 1000 IU daily year round- however, many people are deficient and their MD/ND may recommend a much higher daily dosage.

I often order a vitamin D blood test when there is concern of deficiency and then dose appropriately for my patients to achieve optimal serum levels.

Zinc is another vitamin that supports our immune system- dosages will vary per individual, and also note that taking zinc supplements on an empty stomach may cause nausea.

Further supplementation and the inclusion of herbal protocols is best done under the supervision of an ND.

3. Sugar-free.

Avoid eating excess sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Sugar suppresses the immune system.

A study showed that healthy volunteers who ingested 100 g of sugar (equivalent to about 2 cans of Coca Cola) caused a significant decrease in the capacity of immune cells to engulf bacteria.

Homemade Soup For Preventing Colds | Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

4. Broth.

Good old fashioned chicken soup.

Broths keeps us warm and hydrated.

Chicken soup has been shown to have in-vitro anti-inflammatory effects aiding with the thinning of chest congestion, mucous and improving coughs.

Here is link to the study if you’d like to read more.

I recommend making your own broth from scratch, and then increasing its immune boosting properties with a tried and true combination of Chinese herbs to brew up a Change of Season Soup.

5. Reduce your exposure to germs.

Wash your hands, and wash them often.

Give sick people their space- be supportive of the utilization of sick days and working from home.

If you do get sick, reduce exposing your sickness to others- especially those who may not be able to mount adequate immune responses (the elderly, individuals with chronic illness, infants).

If you feel like you are chronically getting sick and it takes you a long time to get better, it may be a good idea to have a thorough assessment done with a naturopathic doctor.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,


Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1
-https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


To read more tips about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: nd toronto


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Simple Roasted Beets with Citrus


By now you probably know who's bringing the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, and the pumpkin pie. Well at least I do. I know if I'm going to add anything else to my Thanksgiving menu, it's going to have … Go to the recipe...

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Optimizing Fertility: Natural Ways to Support Egg Quality

Annex Naturopathic

Natural Ways to Support Egg Quality | Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

Today, many women are choosing to have children later in life than previous generations.

Fertility treatments are a common option for those with difficulty conceiving naturally.

Creating the conditions for optimal egg quality is an important factor in achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Women are born with a set number of oocytes (eggs) and from puberty until menopause, an egg should be released from the ovary (ovulation) each month.

The quality of the egg depends on the health of its mitochondria - the powerhouse- or energy production of the cell.

The more mitochondria the healthier the egg.

As women age, they have reduced mitochondrial activity- and therefore, reduced energy production which adversely affects the egg’s viability.

Contributing Factors to Diminished Ovarian Reserve 1:

  • Advanced maternal age.
  • Exposure to systemic chemotherapy.
  • Exposure to pelvic irradiation.
  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Surgical procedures to the ovary.
  • Auto-immune disorders.
  • Environmental exposures.
  • Endocrine disorders (diabetes, PCOS).

Regardless of contributing factor, there are multiple ways to support egg quality.

Optimizing Fertility | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopath

How To Support Egg Quality:

Reduce Oxidative Stress

  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases oxidative stress and accelerates time to menopause. Cessation of smoking should happen 3-6 months before initiation of treatment (dependant on age and ovarian reserve).2
  • Decrease alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a reproduction toxin that can increases oxidative stress.

Improve pelvic blood flow

Exercise increases blood flow to the core and pelvic organs, while improving sexual function and mood. Moderate exercise also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.

Increase anti-oxidants

Both in the diet and in supplement form, anti-oxidants have a protective effect on the ovaries and their mitochondira.

Bright coloured fruits and vegetable contain high amounts of anti-oxidants.

Supplemental anti-oxidants include: melatonin, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), alpha-lipoid acid (ALA), and resveratrol.

Support mitochondria

Although all the aforementioned points all act to support the mitochondria, there are more nutrients that support the ovaries in different ways.

A nutrient called “inostitol” improves glucose uptake and helps ensure the mitochondria of the ovaries have optimal fuel.

Another nutrient, “carnitine”, plays a role in metabolism of fatty-acids to produce energy through a process called beta-oxidation.

This process is also essential for egg maturation.

Optimize hormones and blood sugar

  • Reduce sugar consumption and lose excess weight. Increased insulin levels leases to imbalances of sex hormones and altered ovulation. Obese women have altered mitochondrial function.3
  • Women with impaired blood sugar regulation have more difficulty conceiving.4

Naturopaths are able to appropriately recommend diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplementation to help support egg quality and fertility.

The naturopathic doctors at Annex Naturopathic Clinic are experienced in working with fertility and helping women achieve and maintain healthy pregnancies.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,


Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1
-https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


References:

  1. ESHRE Guideline: management of women with premature ovarian insufficiency. Human Reproduc'on. 2016;31(5):926–37.
  2. Hughes E, Lamont D, BeecroO M, Wilson D, Brennan B, Rice S. Randomized trial of a “stage-of- change” oriented smoking cessa'on interven'on in infer'le and pregnant women. Fer'lity and Sterility. 2000;74(3):498-503.
  3. Pertynska-Marczewska M, Diaman'-Kandarakis E. Aging ovary and the role for advanced glyca'on end products. Menopause. 2017;24(3):345-351.
  4. Hjollund, NH et al. Is glycosylated haemoglobin a marker of fertility? A follow-up study of first pregnancy planners. Hum Reprod. 1999 Jun: 14(6)1478-82.

To discover additional information about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: toronto naturopathic doctor


Sunday, November 12, 2017

How to Grow Radishes

For more natural health and wellness news, visit:  goo.gl/5iMEIC - 

By Dr. MercolaRadishes are crisp, colorful and delicious. When served raw or added to salads, radishes add a burst of bold, peppery flavor. The beauty of planting radishes is twofold: They mature in about 25 days and you can grow them in both spring and fall. Radishes are a low-calorie food that is a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants.They help detoxify your blood, prevent cancer, purify your kidneys and urinary system and regulate your blood pressure. If you are looking for a fast-growing vegetable to add color and a flavorful zing to salads and other dishes, you may be interested in learning more about how to grow radishes.Where Did Radishes Come From?Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are a member of the cabbage or brassic as family, also known as cruciferous vegetables....
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