High Blood Pressure: 21 Natural Remedies

PhotobucketWhat are the Best Natural Medicines for High Blood Pressure?

By Dr. Nicole Sundene, Naturopathic Physician

High blood pressure or “hypertension” is a tough nut to crack with natural medicines. Of course, there are many etiologies to this common disease; however, most cases are because we have gotten fat, old, and out of shape. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, so don’t be hitting the contact form to send me hate mail.

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Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Corn Syrup, Is it Really Just Like Sugar?

PhotobucketThe Corn Industry is spending massive amounts of advertising dollars trying to convince us that high-fructose-corn syrup is just as “good for you” as sugar. But does it really matter? Let’s talk to Dr. Scott Olsen about the differences between sugar and high-fructose-corn-syrup.

In your medical opinion…what is worse:  Sugar or high fructose corn syrup?

Dr. Olsen: This is a little like asking if you would rather be shot or stabbed: both are bad. There is a lot of stir in the media lately about high fructose corn syrup and how it is different than sugar and the research on corn syrup does show it behaves differently in our bodies.

What you need to know about fructose is that the body can’t use it, so whenever you consume fructose, the body has two choices. The first is that it can convert the fructose into glucose and then the body can use the glucose to power all its energy needs. The second choice is that the body can choose to store the fructose as fat.

There is some evidence that the body finds it easier to make that second choice: turning the fructose into fat. (11)  Since our consumption of high fructose corn syrup has increased dramatically in the last few years along with the rate of obesity, it makes us wonder if fructose is to blame.

PhotobucketFRUCTOSE ALSO:

  • Creates harmful proteins, called glycated proteins, much easier than glucose.(12)
  • Leads to insulin insensitivity (and, therefore: diabetes and obesity as well).(13)
  • Contributes to hypertension (high blood pressure).(14)

While avoiding both sugar and high fructose corn syrup is probably your best health choice, keeping high fructose corn syrup out of your diet is the next best step.

Notes:
11. Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM: Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):537-43.
12. Colaco CA. Sugar and coronary heart disease, a molecular explanation. J R Soc Med. 1993 Apr;86(4):243.
13. Miller A, Adeli K. Dietary fructose and the metabolic syndrome. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;24(2):204-9.
14. Johnson RJ, Segal MS, Sautin Y, et al: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):899-906.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?

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Are chocolate chips better than Viagra? According to Journal of Nutrition’s latest September and October issues, chocolate has some pretty exciting therapeutic potential.

If you want to avoid being on “the little blue pill” you should consider taking a daily dose of the little brown pill.

That’s right—50-200 chocolate chips a day may prevent the cardiovascular damage that is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. 1

According to recent studies, the flavonoids in dark chocolate naturally enhanced natural nitric oxide levels. The drug Viagra works mechanistically as a phosphodiesterase inhibtor to enhance nitric oxide. Our bodies also synthesize nitric oxide, and nitric oxide works on our blood vessels to dilate them and increase blood flow. With psychogenic etiologies ruled out, erectile dysfunction is typically an issue of blood flow. Increasing blood flow is how Viagra manufacturers have made a fortune.

In September of 2008, Journal of Nutrition published an Italian university study investigating the therapeutic potential of chocolate and found that, “Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, protect vascular endothelium, and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors….our findings suggest flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa food products may have a positive impact on [cardiovascular disease] risk factors.”


Now as a women’s health physician, I typically avoid topics such as erectile dysfunction like the plague, so I am going to drop my men’s health commentary today and then run for dear life… Photobucket Working as a family practice medical assistant for eight years throughout medical school taught me an important early lesson about men’s health. Most men simply DON’T care about cholesterol, blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, blood sugar, antioxidants or inflammation.

The second you start to nag about this stuff their eyes just glaze over. You can nag and nag and nag about cholesterol and blood sugar lab values, and still no changes will be implemented.

Eventually I realized the secret to men’s health while working as a urology assistant, the only way to get men to care about their health is to hit them below the belt with the facts that matter. Women are typically all about vanity and men are all about virility. These are the motivators I rely on to market and sell my preventive medicine concepts.

PhotobucketDoctors know that all of the aforementioned health issues contribute to erectile dysfunction. But, what most men don’t know is that without a properly functioning cardiovascular system, things below the belt aren’t going to function either.

It’s all about blood flow and elasticity. Photobucket We would never leave our garden hoses to freeze out in the cold of winter, we instead take the time to properly care for them to insure they don’t harden and become permanently dysfunctional. Although garden hoses cannot auto-repair, our arteries do by making scar tissue, and the similar type of destruction from high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes is repaired by the body by throwing down scar tissue and inflammation.

The more scar tissue and inflammation in your arteries the less elastic they are, and thus the narrower their diameter. Blood pressure just continues to escalate and the damage to your arteries continues in a vicious cycle. Viagra and similar medications such as Levitra and Cialis all work to enhance blood flow.

They are designed to promote the elasticity of those frozen old er…stiff garden hoses. Viagra is a phosphodiasterase inhibitor which increases levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes our blood vessels to EXPAND. Eventually arteries become damaged and hardened to the point where they will no longer respond to nitric oxide. Photobucket Keep in mind though that a “garden hose” left out in extreme harsh “winter conditions” will inevitably lose it’s elasticity, and the hose will have to be replaced. How many “winters” have you left your body out in the cold, not caring about diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation? This is why many men with erectile dysfunction don’t find benefit from Viagra. Blood vessel expansion is the premise of which Viagra has made millions.


I am going to instead give away my natural medicine tips for free, and if the Toll House Chocolate Chip Company wants to send me a billion dollar thank you check, they are more than welcome. What is more important to me is that TODAY you feel inspired and motivated to prevent problems that will inevitably occur down the road TOMORROW.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”—right?

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If you don’t have erectile dysfunction now wouldn’t you like to prevent it from happening? Medicine’s used to treat ED are expensive, have multiple side effects and drug interactions, and are not as well tolerated as the commercials on television make them out to be.

When I worked as a Urology assistant the main complaint was always headaches and that “it just didn’t work”. Well after a while when disease has advanced too far, no medication will be able to work. Think back to the garden hose example. You want your arteries to be elastic and healthy, not hardened from the “harsh winter conditions” of sub-optimally controlled high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.

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So why chocolate chips?

Well chocolate chips are fantastic prevention because they are DARK chocolate and the darker the chocolate the more nitric oxide enhancing flavonoids.

A study was done on Italian men and found that Italian men that ate an ounce of dark chocolate had healthier lab markers.

Keep in mind that 50 chocolate chips or roughly an ounce of dark chocolate is the minimum amount needed to prevent disease according to that study.

I weighed them out and found that 48 chocoalte chips= 1oz. But you have my permission to throw in two extra chips for preventive measure!

Another study cited previously, showed therapeutic benefit with 100 grams of dark chocolate which is about 200 chocolate chips! Is this not the best news ever for chocolate lovers?

Remember though that chocolate as a medicine is not free of calories, cocoa butter, or refined sugar. Pure cocoa products are a great alternative as an ounce of chocolate chips have 140 calories. While 200 chocolate chips pack a whopping 500 calories!

But, for those of you that are already eating too much sugar and saturated fat, chocolate chips are a fantastic way to transition to a healthier dessert diet. I know most of you are probably eating fattening desserts anyways (I mean we do have to enjoy life a little bit right?) so dark chocolate chips are a healthier alternative and I like that they conveniently come in little bits that can be savored throughout the day.

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But, chocolate chips are not the only foods that contain disease fighting flavonoids. So here is the bait and switch. Most fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids.

Berries are chock full of proanthocyanins, citrus is a fantastic source of hesperidin and rutin, and onions are an excellent source of quercetin. Fruits and vegetables are likely going to prevent the need of Viagra too!

Yes–really this is just a giant strategically planned nag on my part to inspire the consumption of more whole foods, especially those rich in flavonoids. And yes it really was too easy to grab your attention with chocolate chips and Viagra and then turn this in to a fruit and veggie nag. But, my point with this “gotcha” is that preventing disease is where it is at when it comes to ED. Winter is coming, and it is time to think about your preventative plan for your “garden hose.”

A healthy dose of fresh fruits, raw or lightly steamed veggies, raw nuts and seeds, and chocolate will work synergistically to prevent the cardiovascular damage that causes disease.

I think any man suffering with ED reading this article would absolutely agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For diabetics that want to gain the flavanol benefits of chocolate chips, simply enjoy them with a small handful of raw almonds to decrease the glycemic load and increase phenolic compounds (anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer). Almonds are also high in fiber, and fiber consumption also is protective to the cardiovascular system. So add about ten raw almonds to your 50 chocolate chips or make a healthy trail mix with your other favorite raw nuts and seeds.

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I don’t want to leave women out of this nag, so chocolate chips are good news for women too as Dr. Christiane Northrup in her latest book “The Secret Pleasures of Menopause” also emphasizes the importance of naturally enhancing nitric oxide levels through diet and lifestyle to improve sexual function. Grab the book through Amazon, if you care to learn more about ways to naturally enhance nitric oxide.

Those in need of losing weight should also benefit from this simple chocolate chip tip as eating a few chocolate bits throughout the day should help you feel satisfied for sweets and prevent those binges brought on by extreme deprivation and yo-yo dieting that sets the stage for binge eating.

Stick with me, subscribe to my feed, and I will teach you how to be healthy & enjoy life.

Dr. Nicole Sundene

Want more tips for preventing and treating erectile dysfunction through diet and lifestyle?

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Try: Exercise, The Low Glycemic Index Diet, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Kegels for Men, Cholesterol Lowering Diet, Hypertension, Low Sodium Diet, Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and subscribe to my feed as we discuss the therapeutic potential of other healing foods and natural supplements for cardiovascular health and erectile dysfunction.

References

1. Grassi D, Desideri G, Necozione S, et al. “Chocolate and Blood Pressure” J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1671-6.

2. Romina di Giuseppe, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, et al. “Italian Men that eat Dark Chocolate are Healthier” J. Nutr. 138:1939-1945, October 2008

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Fish Oil vs Flax Oil? The Great Debate

shutterstock_4806400.jpgOne of the greatest flaws in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a lack of omega-3 fatty acids.

Repleting this deficiency typically improves memory and mental functioning as well as corrects a gamut of other annoying health problems.

The reason for this is that these essential oils are necessary for proper brain functioning, immune function, hormonal balance and skin integrity as they are the necessary building blocks for the cellular membrane of every single cell in our body. Wow just ONE thing for all SIXTY TRILLION cells in your body!

This must be pretty important then… Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

anti-inflammatoryfactory.jpg

Who should be on the anti-inflammatory diet?  Well– just about everyone!

Anyone with arthritis, chronic pain, chronic disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or sjogrens, as well as those looking to slow the aging process and disease prevention will benefit from an anti-inflammatory eating plan. Eating healthy is the gift that keeps on giving!

My first day in Human Pathology class back in med school I learned about how inflammation led to cellular destruction and that cellular destruction was ultimately the root cause of disease. Little did I know at the time that it was just about everything I needed to know for treating disease. Many years later, as I watch most chronic disease clear up if not vastly improve just from the implementation of the anti-inflammatory diet, I am consistently reminded of the importance of treating the inflammatory load in the body.

To understand the detriments of inflammation on a cellular level, imagine that your body is a factory.

Now let’s pretend that the cells that make up all your tissues are simply the product of an assembly line in this factory. The factory is required to produce a certain quantity of functional cells every day, regardless if cells are destroyed or made improperly. Every time the factory loses cells, or makes dysfunctional cells, the assembly line will then need to speed up that much more in order to achieve that day’s production quota.

I’m sure you can quickly see that the faster the line speeds up the more room for error there then becomes.As the line speeds up to max capacity quality goes down and quantity of error goes up.

In order to manage the “factories” called our bodies properly we must learn how to keep the assembly line running at a nice steady consistent virtually error free rate.

So what causes these errors?

Arachidonic acid is the biochemical “mother of all evil” when discussing inflammation.

Most pharmaceutical medications as well as anti-inflammatory herbs work to inhibit the enzymes like cycloxygenase and lipoxygenase that convert this bad fat in to the inflammatory products that cause us pain, destroy our joints, and ultimately make us sick. Most physicians heavily rely on anti-inflammatory meds like “COX Inhibitors” also known as “NSAIDS” that are either prescription or over the counter pain relievers for treating a myriad of complaints. COX just stands for cycloxygenase. COX is the enzyme that converts arachidonic acid in to inflammatory products that cause us pain or make us sick.

Why depend on taking a daily drug to reduce inflammation when you can simply achieve the most of it through diet?

Arachidonic acid (AA) is the fat found primarily in animal fats. The body can still produce AA on it’s own from vegetable fats in the event that we do need some inflammation to help the healing and remodeling process that is necessary for short term illness and injury. However the body tends to REALLY overshoot when it comes to inflammation.Anyone that has had some very painful swelling from an injury can understand how unnecessary most of the inflammatory response actually is. When dealing with chronic inflammation however, we need to do the best that we can to tone down this overshooting of the inflammatory response.

Fried foods are just like throwing gasoline on the inflammatory fire.

The unstable molecules in the fried foods just contribute to the chaos.

  • The best thing you can do for your long term health is to get fried foods out of your diet. Do not use butter or margarine.
  • Please never use shortening!
  • Olive oil should be used at all times unless cooking over 350F which then cold pressed canola or rapeseed oil should be used.
  • Flax seed oil should not ever be used for cooking due to it’s low smoking point, but can be used as salad dressing, or drizzled over steamed veggies for a nutty flavor.

The other most important step is to reduce if not eliminate animal fat consumption. This is why many people do well on a vegan diet (no animal products at all). You should check with your doctor to determine if a vegan diet is the right choice for you, as it is not the easiest to follow and may not be recommended for your particular body type and metabolism. At the very least you can eliminate red meat from your diet, all processed meats like hot dogs and sausages should absolutely be avoided as the nitrates in them particularly increase inflammation, as well as the ridiculously high fat content. Eggs have a high AA content and thus are best to be avoided or consumed in moderation.

Remember: Animal fat=Inflammation.

Eat lean poultry, fish, and plenty of wild Alaskan salmon.www.ewg.org to find a list of low mercury content fish that are not endangered. Fat free organic dairy products may also be acceptable for those without severe disease.

Although consuming omega 3 fats in the form of Alaskan salmon is most optimal, I understand it is not always practical.Those with severe inflammation will benefit from adding cod liver oil or fish oil in to their diet. Check with your naturopathic doctor to determine the dose that is appropriate for you. Those with bleeding disorders and on anti-coagulant medications should not take fish oil. The reason that fish oil is so anti-inflammatory is that it competes with arachidonic acid for the same enzymes to produce opposing products.In the presence of fish oil, arachidonic acid has less raw materials to produce inflammatory products. The average daily dose of fish oil is about 1tsp to 1 tbl daily. Be sure to take it with food. I like the lemon flavored cod liver oil by Carlson in the green bottle. It can be found at any health food store.

Other substances in the diet aside from arachidonic acid can also lead to inflammation.Anytime you have food allergies or intolerances, you will have an increased level of inflammation in your body as your immune system is forced to work overtime.You can do an ALLERGY ELIMINATION DIET to determine which foods you are most sensitive to.Most patients are triggered by a favorite food. Not typically what anyone ever wants to hear, but that is why I get paid the big bucks to be the bad guy. Aside from favorite foods top inflammation offenders are: Wheat, dairy, soy, citrus, peanuts/nuts, corn, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bananas, and beef.

Now at this point after I recite such a list most patients will look at me and say “But Doc that is my entire diet!” which then I will be forced to respond “Well no wonder you are so sick…”It may seem tough at first, but giving up foods that make us sick means giving up disease, and ultimately being healthy is what makes us the most happy and productive. Nothing should be more important to you than your health.Especially not a silly little food! If you are having a difficult time with these changes, and demonstrating to yourself this level of care and self love, please work with a therapist to sort out the issues surrounding making the necessary health improvements.

Some patients will notice a marked improvement in their arthritis by avoiding the night shade family, some will not.

The “night shade” family is comprised of potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers.The chemical solanine is thought to specifically cause pain in some individuals although it is not specifically researched.

You can try a 2 week elimination of the nightshade family with a re-introduction challenge as explained on the ALLERGY ELIMINATION DIET page and see if these foods are problematic or not. You will simply need to play around with all these foods that typically cause allergies and irritations and figure out which if any are causing you trouble. Typically after a week you should notice a marked improvement without that food in your diet, more severe disease may require two to three weeks without the food. Children respond faster and will typically resolve in 3 to 4 days.

Reducing sugar consumption is also key to reducing the inflammatory load.

Sugar basically “rusts” our system. Sugars in our system get stuck to healthy cells and basically “tags” them for destruction.A process called “glycosylation”.To prevent this inflammatory/aging process start with eliminating all white refined sugars and flour products like white breads, bagels, white rice, and other “evil white foods” from your diet.Find substitutes whenever possible, and enjoy your favorites judiciously. Follow the LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX DIET and learn how to appropriately pair high protein and high fiber foods with your carbohydrates to reduce the total glycemic load, which will stop your system from prematurely “rusting”.

Learn to eat more cleanly by adopting a WHOLE FOODS DIET.

Getting processed foods out of your diet is extremely important.So now that we have discussed the bad stuff in the diet that needs to go, let’s talk about the good foods that should be eaten liberally. Certain foods have magical anti-inflammatory properties. The more you can learn to use foods as medicine, the less medication you should inevitably be required to take.

Foods as medicine are great for people that already are on medications as they are less likely to have negative interactions than herbs and other natural supplements.

Please however always check with your doctor before making any changes to your health care routine.

My favorite anti-inflammatory food is BLUEBERRIES

I prescribe one cup of frozen blueberries daily to all my patients with inflammation, heart disease, or diabetes. Most people are happy to add such a delicious food in to their diet, but occasionally I will have a patient balk at the cost of eating so many blueberries each month.If you are already taking medications or other supplements, you are clearly paying quite a bit for your health already so adding a superfood in like blueberries is well worth the $30 a month. You could buy a bottle of some herbal product for that same price, or you could just enjoy eating blueberries.

  • Blueberries are highly anti-inflammatory and their proanthocyanin behavior is fundamentally protective to our cardiovascular system.
  • In my opinion there is not a more delicious, advantageous way to improve your health than by eating a cup of frozen blueberries a day.
  • I like to enjoy them as an evening snack, and let them sit out and thaw about 20 minutes before eating.
  • You can also add them to smoothies or your morning cereal.
  • Cooking them does not destroy their important pigments, and the freezing process actually makes these proanthocyanins more bioavailable for absorption. A rare exception to the rule that fresh is best!

Green leafy vegetables should also become your new best friend as they are an important anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant food.

Greens are chock full of magnesium a nutrient that most of us are typically deficient in anyways, eating as many servings of green vegetables daily as possible will serve you well. A diet of brown rice, vegetables, lean meats, non-citrus fruits, water and green tea is the ultimate goal to work towards.And honestly, it is the basis of nearly every “therapeutic diet” that we prescribe for just about every disease out there. No wonder treating inflammation is so fundamentally important!

If you add in some turmeric (found in curry spice), ginger, and green tea you should do really well with reducing your total inflammatory load.

Turmeric is a natural COX2 inhibitor and is a better anti-oxidant than vitamin E. Ginger is highly anti-inflammatory as it inhibits phosopholipase which then has the dual effect of inhibiting both COX and lipoxygenase .The catechins in green tea are shown to be anti-oxidant and inflammatory modulating. These can be enjoyed as foods or taken in supplements. Again if you are on any medications please check with your physician before using any herbs or making any changes to your health care routine.

Last but certainly not least is my plug on addressing your emotional state.

Toxic emotions such as anger, depression, and excessive worry or anxiety can lead the body out of balance. A new exciting research field on the forefront is “Psychoneuroimmunology” this is the study of how our emotional state affects our nervous system and how that in turn affects our immune system.The immune system is largely responsible for most inflammation.Having a positive mind set and letting go of past issues is as important as diet in experiencing optimal wellness!

So that is my simple anti-inflammatory formula for success.

Follow the recommendations in order systematically making one change at a time, or start with the changes that will be the most simple for you to build up your confidence and energy to deal with some of the tougher ones. If you are doing all of that and still noticing symptoms after some marked improvement you should continue to work with your Naturopathic Physician or other healthcare provider to determine what other dietary modifications or alternative medicines will benefit you.

Please do drop me a comment if you have any questions!

~Dr. Nicole Sundene
Naturopathic Physician
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

REFERENCES

“Biochemistry” Fifth Edition by Berg, Tymockzko, and Stryer. “Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth” by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. “Medical Herbalism” by David HoffmanEastwood MA. Interaction of dietary antioxidants in vivo: how fruit and vegetables prevent disease. QJM 1000;92(9):527-530 Hidaka H, Ishiko T, Furuhashi T, et al. Curcumin inhibits interleukin 8 production and enhances interleukin 8 receptor expression on the cell surface: impact on human pancreatic carcinoma cell growth by autocrine regulation. Cancer. 2002;95(6):1206-1214John JH, Ziebland S, Yudkin P, et al. Effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on plasma antioxidant concentrations and blood pressure: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet. 2002;359(9322):1969-1974. Kremer JM. N-3 fatty acid supplements in rheumatoid arthritis. AM J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:348-351.McDougall J, Bruce B, Spiller G, et al. Effects of a very low-fat, vegan diet in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. J Altern Complement Med. 2002;8(1):71-75Seaman DR. The diet induced proinflammatory state: a cause of chronic pain and other degenerative diseases? J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002;25(3):168-179.Stark AH, Madar Z. Olive Oil as a functional food: epidemiology and nutritional approaches. Nutr Rev. 2002;60(6): 170-176. Kawachi I, Sparrow D, Spiro A III, et al. A prospective study of anger and coronary heart disease. The Normative Aging Study. Circulation 1996;94(9):2090-2095Kawachi I, Sparrow D, Vokonas PS, et al. Symptoms of anxiety and risk of coronary heart disease. The normative aging study. Circulation 1994;90:2225-2229. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, McGuire L, Robles TF, Glaser R. Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: new perspectives from psychoneruoimmunology. Annu Rev Pschol. 2002;53:83-107

A user friendly book I recommend on this topic is “The Inflammation Cure” by William Joel Meggs, M.D., Ph.D. if you would like to read more on the biochemistry of what I have discussed here.


Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Smile to prevent Heart Disease!

PhotobucketAs I look outside today, it is a typical winter day in Seattle: cold, damp, and overcast with a light drizzle. The last thing I feel like doing on a day like today is smiling. However, it may be just the thing that helps me feel better in the here and now, and helps my heart in the long-run.

The act of smiling is known to release endorphins, hormones which make you feel, well, fabulous. Things that have made me smile include The Simpsons circa mid-1990s, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (especially read aloud), 30 Rock (love Alec Baldwin), and any stand-up by Amy Schumer.

Think of something that makes you smile, and keep reading!

Now that those endorphins are working for you, you will be pleased to read that in 2001 researchers from Johns Hopkins found that a positive attitude is the best prevention for heart disease. Good attitudes were shown to cut in half the risk of a heart attack, regardless of age, race, and gender of those with more pessimistic attitudes.

So smile today and your heart will love you for years to come!

Author: Dr. Emily Gonzalez, Naturopathic Physician

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Coenzyme Q10

PhotobucketCoenzyme Q10 or “CoQ10”, also known as ubiquinone, is an anti-oxidant that is essential for mitochondrial energy production and may play a role in cellular defense against oxidative damage.

A growing body of research shows that using a coenzyme Q10 supplement alone or in combination with other therapies may be beneficial in the treatment of several health problems, including cardiac conditions and diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, immune deficiency, muscular dystrophy, and periodontal disease.

Dietary Sources
Most coenzyme Q10 is believed to be synthesized inside the body. Normal dietary intake is minimal, though primary food sources include oily fish, organ meats (such as liver), nuts, and whole grains.

Supplementation with higher doses of CoQ10 can be helpful in individuals with certain health conditions, and in the elderly, because levels can decline with advancing age. If taken as a supplement, coenzyme Q10 should be taken with a meal containing fat or oil since it is fat-soluble. The body does not absorb it as well in the absence of oil.

Consult your physician for specific recommendations CoQ10 supplementation.

Precautions
Coenzyme Q10 appears to be safe with no significant side effects. However, the safety of supplementation during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown.

Possible Interactions
Certain medications such as Adriamycin, lovastatin and other HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors, gemfibrozil, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and phenothiazine may deplete the body of coenzyme Q10.

Resources
1. Combs, G.F., The Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health. 2nd ed. 1998, San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press. xxii, 618.
2. Gaby, A.R. and J. Wright, Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice. 2001, Seattle, WA: Nutrition Seminars.
3. MD Consult, Patient Handouts. 2002, http://www.mdconsult.com.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

High Blood Pressure Diet

PhotobucketHypertension is another name for high blood pressure.

It is a condition that occurs when the pressure inside of your arteries is too high. Because it is a silent disorder the only way to detect hypertension is to have your blood pressure measured.

Hypertension is a very common problem that affects about 50 million people in the United States alone.

That’s about 1 out of every 4 adults. It is more common as people grow older and is more common and more serious in African Americans.

What do the numbers mean?

Blood pressure measures the natural pressure created by blood pumping through your veins and arteries. Blood pressure is read as two numbers, one over the other. The top number, or systolic blood pressure, measures the blood pressure when the heart pumps. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, measures the blood pressure between heartbeats when the heart rests.

Hypertension is blood pressure that is over 140/90

Optimal blood pressure is under 120/80

Risk factors you can control

9 out of every 10 people who have hypertension do not have a known cause for their condition. A family history of hypertension is a risk factor for developing the condition. With or without a family history, you have a chance of avoiding or controlling hypertension by:

• Keeping your weight under control
• Keeping physically fit
• Eating a healthy diet low in sodium and rich in nutrients potassium, magnesium and calcium
• Limiting alcohol intake (no more than 2 mixed drinks or two 12 oz. cans of beer or two 6 oz. glasses of wine daily)
• Never smoking or quitting immediately
• Avoiding medications that might increase your blood pressure:
o Decongestant nasal sprays and pain medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

Therapeutic foods

• Increase consumption of vitamin C-rich foods (citrus fruits, strawberries, red peppers, dark green leafy vegetables)
• Increase consumption of vitamin E-rich foods (almonds, hazelnuts, wheat germ, peanut butter)
• Increase consumption of magnesium-rich foods (soybeans, tomatoes, beans, nuts & seeds, squash, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, wheat germ, halibut, swiss chard)
• Increase consumption of potassium-rich foods (grapefruit, grapes, tomatoes, beans, apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, corn, cucumbers, dates, salt-water fish, lamb)
• Increase consumption of calcium-rich foods (yogurt, sardines, salmon (canned with bones), milk, cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli)
• Try cooking with less salt. Experiment with spices such as, parsley, basil, oregano, ginger, sesame, dill, cilantro, curry, pepper, and thyme to reduce the amount of salt used in cooking
• Cut back on sodium, including that in processed foods and in many drugs (check labels for soda, sodium, or salt). Avoid commercial sauces like soy or Worcestershire and commercial salad dressings (check labels for sodium content)
• When eating out, ask for your food cooked without added salt

Physical Activity

Start slowly and build up gradually. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity 3 to 5 days per week. Aerobic activity will strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It will also help to control your weight. Try brisk walking, jogging, biking, hiking, group exercise classes (water aerobics, kick-boxing, judo), running stairs, rowing, and team sports (football, soccer).

Hypertension can lead to other serious health problems:

Routinely monitoring your blood pressure is important. Hypertension has been called a “silent killer” because it has no specific symptoms and it can lead to death. People who have hypertension that is not treated with lifestyle modifications and medications (if necessary) are likely to experience one or several of the following conditions:
• Coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, or abnormal heart beat.
• Kidney failure
• Peripheral vascular disease, hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that supply blood to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body
• Retinopathy, or damage to the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the light-sensitive lining of the back of the eye
• Stroke

Sources:
American Heart Association. “Why Should I Care?” http://www.americanheart.org/hbp/care.jsp
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Publication 03-5232, 2003.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Helpful Tips to Reduce Sodium

shutterstock_1134393.jpgSodium, a component of table salt, is a mineral found naturally in most foods. Everyone needs some sodium but most people get much more than they need.

In some people sodium causes water retention that leads to swelling. Besides the discomfort this may cause, it can lead to high blood pressure that increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage.

Decreasing the amount of sodium in the diet helps reduce extra fluid and swelling which allows the blood pressure to begin to return to normal. Most Americans should consume no more than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams) of sodium a day. That is about 1 teaspoon of table salt a day. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise less.

Tips to Reduce Salt and Sodium

  • Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned “with no salt added” vegetables.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
  • Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
  • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
  • Choose “convenience” foods that are low in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings – these often have a lot of sodium.
  • Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and beans, to remove some sodium.
  • When available, buy low- or reduced-sodium or no-salt-added versions of foods.
  • Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are low in sodium.

Experiment with seasonings

  • Thyme, sage, parsley, or Tabasco
  • Basil, mint, bay leaves, or vinegar
  • Oregano, rosemary, chilis, cayenne, or fresh tomatoes
  • Saffron, curry, onions, or lemon juice
  • Dill, fresh garlic, or dry mustard
  • Fresh ginger, cumin, sesame seeds, tahini, or Vegit

**Consult with a medical doctor (MD) before using salt substitutes**

Foods to Avoid that are High in Sodium

Avoid the following high-sodium foods, or look for low-sodium or sodium-free versions.

  • Meat, fish, poultry and other high-protein foods
  • Salted or smoked meats and fish, bacon, ham, luncheon meats, sausage, salt pork, hot dogs, canned tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies, meat and shrimp, Canadian bacon, corned beef, processed cheese, salted peanut butter, soy meat substitutes

Snack foods

  • Potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, cheese doodles, salted nuts, salted crackers, salted popcorn, party dips, Gatorade

Vegetables

  • Canned tomatoes, paste, sauce, and juice, olives, pickles and relishes, sauerkraut
  • Convenience and processed foods
  • TV and packaged dinner dishes, canned/frozen soups, commercial broth, Cup-a-Soup, gravy mixes, sauce mixes, stuffing, breaded entrees, bread mixes, dehydrated soups, bouillon cubes, instant and ready-to-eat cereals

Seasonings and condiments

  • Garlic, onion, and celery salt, meat tenderizer, steak sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, tamari, tartar, and barbecue sauce
  • Commercial salad dressings, ketchup, seasoned salt substitutes, horseradish, prepared mustard, lemon pepper, and sea vegetables

Avoid added salt when cooking and eating out

  • When a recipe calls for salt, cut the amount in half as a first step. Gradually reduce salt further as taste tolerance adapts.
  • Be aware that restaurant food is often salty- choose dishes and restaurants that provide low-sodium options and/or eat out less often

NOTE: Some prescription, and over-the-counter medications do contain sodium that may contribute to increases in blood pressure. Ask a doctor or pharmacist for the names of specific medications that may be an issue.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure, 2003 & Swedish Heart Institute, A Patient’s Guide to Heart-Healthy Nutrition, 2002

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™