Posts for: September, 2014
Eating Clean: What It Means
By Julie T. Chen, MD
"Eating Clean"...what does that mean? I am guilty of also using those words frequently in my articles and when I address my patients in my integrative medicine clinic in San Jose CA. But what does it mean exactly?
When I mention eating clean, what I mean by that is that I want patients to eat real food. You might be thinking that all foods are real food but I would not agree. In my opinion, most foods that are coming out of packages or boxes or bags could potentially not be the ideal "real food" but of course there are exceptions.
In general, to avoid confusion, I recommend that my patients eat foods found in the outside aisles of the grocery store that mostly contain real meats, fishes, vegetables, fruits and grains. These are the categories of foods that not only help you feel better but I have had tremendous success in helping patients with various disease states such as rheumatological diseases, pain, fatigue, thyroid issues, and sleep issues, just to name a few.
When you eat foods that are in their natural forms, there is a higher likelihood for it to have more nutrients and less processed ingredients. For example, if patients like to use almond flour, I would rather they grind it themselves from whole almonds into powder than buy it pre-made. Or if a patient wants soup, it is generally "cleaner" if patient makes it themselves rather than getting it from a can.
Having said that, I recognize that not everybody can make their own food all the time so when you find yourself in a pinch and can't make your meals, it's ideal to pick up food that isn't processed into noodles, breads, crackers, wraps etc. It's better to pick up food that comes in its own natural form like fish with vegetables and quinoa or chicken with vegetables and brown rice. These options are healthier and more nutritious than potentially a noodle bowl or sandwich with processed meats and dressings.
Some of my patients wonder whether a little processed food is alright. The answer depends on whether someone has no health issues or they are battling health issues already.
If you have heart disease, diabetes, rheumatological diseases, cancers, thyroid disease or chronic pain, just to name a few examples, my recommendation is to avoid processed foods at all times. By doing so, you will not be giving these diseases fuel to foster.
Also, keep in mind that we are all human, if you say to yourself that you can cheat once or twice per week, frequently people will do it three to four times per week. If you tell yourself you can't cheat on processed foods, then in general, seeing as we are after all human, you might have processed foods a few times in a month at special occasions or when you have no other food options at a party or event.
When you eat "clean," you are taking in food in the form that Mother Nature intended and traditionally, that generates anti-inflammatory effects and has beneficial impact on your overall health and your weight, skin and hair. So, when you are eating food in its natural form, you'll be boosting your health as well as the natural glow of your skin and hair.
Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit www.makinghealthyez.com.
A Detox Strategy to Help Maximize Athletic Performance
By Robert Silverman, DC, MS, CCN, CSCS
One of the most dangerous culprits that affects an athlete's ability to perform at an optimum level also happens to be one of the most elusive. Environmental toxins are virtually everywhere given their almost global nature; for instance, we don't think too much about the packaging food comes in, or the shampoo we wash our hair with – or even the air we breathe.
Yet according to a 2010 article in Science, 70-90 percent of disease risks are likely due to environmental factors.
Environmental toxins come in two categories – chemicals and metals. They are accumulated and trapped in the fatty tissue of the human body from medications, food preservatives, and exposure to pesticides, air pollutants and other harmful toxins in the environment. These toxins come from a variety of sources, but initial exposure actually begins while a baby is still in the womb.
According to the CDC's Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, more than 212 chemicals have been found to be present in the blood and urine of most Americans. The six most widespread chemicals are:
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as a flame retardant
- Bisphenol A (BPA), found in plastic products (e.g. bottled water)
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), found in non-stick cookwares
- Acrylamide in items cooked at high temperatures (e.g. French fries, fried chicken and coffee
- Mercury - found in seafood
- Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) – exposure from secondhand smoke
As one example, research data suggests there is a strong relationship between urine concentrations of Bisphenol A and type 2 diabetes and reduced testosterone levels.
Our liver serves as our body's natural detoxification process. It supports the body's ability to excrete toxins once they have been neutralized, thus reducing the chance they will recirculate and be stored in the body. Unfortunately, as a result of vast exposure to pervasive toxins, the liver is unable to break down fat-soluble toxins. Even in an athlete, these accumulated toxins get released back into the bloodstream. Both health and performance are impaired as these toxins recirculate in the body.
Impact of Excessive Toxin Burden
Here are some of the common symptoms that can indicate toxin overload. All of these symptoms affect an athlete's ability to train and focus, and most importantly, play on game day:
- Fatigue, lethargy, weakness
- Headaches, irritability
- Cognitive problems, e.g., brain fog, memory problems
- Concentration difficulties
- Generalized muscle aches
- Decreased athletic performance
Detox Pathways in a Healthy Liver
Step 1: Toxins, which are fat soluble, are transported from the intestine to the liver. These include metabolic end products, chemical pollutants and contaminants, micro-organisms, food additives, drugs / medications, and alcohol.
Step 2: In the liver, toxins undergo phase 1 detoxification to neutralize certain toxins.
Step 3: The remainder of the unneutralized toxins move into phase 2 detoxification, which then transforms the remainder into water-soluble compounds.
Step 4: Newly transformed toxins are then transported to either the kidneys, where they are excreted in the urine; or to the gallbladder, where they are eventually excreted via the feces.
Detox Pathways in an Unhealthy Liver
In an unhealthy liver, toxins are unable to be detoxified at the speed they are brought to the liver. In these cases, toxins build up and recirculate in the blood, contributing to long-term poor health – and most importantly for athletes, impaired performance. These unneutralized, fat-soluble toxins can be stored in body tissues such as fat, the brain and the nervous system, causing systemic symptoms.
The Solution: Appropriate Nutritional Support
The success of a metabolic detoxification program can be maximized by using well-researched nutrients, vitamins and herbs to balance and support the body's detoxification pathways.
The gastrointestinal tract is the first-pass detoxification barrier against large chemical compounds that are foreign to the human body. My first nutritional recommendation would be two probiotics, specifically B. lactis (Bi-07) and L. acidophilus (NCFM), which have both been documented to help with GI stability and health. Additionally, low-allergen-potential nutrients nourish the GI barrier and support the elimination of toxins.
Rice proteins and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) derived from milk fat, palm and coconut oil boost metabolism. They allow clearance of potential allergens that may be contributing to impaired toxin clearance.
The liver is the next toxin treatment center. Nutrients that help regulate liver processes include L-cysteine, magnesium, glucuronic acid, glycine, glutathione and sulfate. Antioxidants also support the clearance of reactive intermediary compounds. A comprehensive vitamin profile, including vitamins A, C and E, and a broad spectrum of B vitamins also help neutralize these compounds.
Three substances of biofunctional modulators have the ability to simultaneously influence phase 1 / phase 2 activity in the liver: green tea catechins, ellagic acid and watercress glucosinolates.
These supplements, coupled with detox-friendly dietary intake, enable athletes to safely and efficiently remove toxins from their bodies, leading to improved health and athletic performance. Talk to your doctor for more information.
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- Environmental Protection Agency: Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs).
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Robert Silverman, DC, MS, CCN, CSCS, graduated from the University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic. He also has a master's of science in human nutrition. Dr. Silverman is a nationally known speaker and has published numerous articles, in addition to giving seminars on injury-related prevention, treatments and nutrition for various organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. He also serves as a chiropractor and sports injury consultant for basketball players, professional wrestling organizations, local, collegiate, and professional sports teams, professional triathletes, body-builders, martial artists and cyclists. To learn more, visit his website:www.drrobersilverman.com.