Health Talk


Top 10 Chemicals Threatening Your Health

Top 10 Chemicals Threatening Your Health Right Now


The United State’s new chemical safety law is giving the Environmental Protection Agency more authority to regulate dangerous chemicals. The new requirements under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will for the first time require EPA to review existing chemicals. And there are a lot of them. About 80,000 to be exact. So where should EPA start? One well-known public health advocate actually created a list, identifying the top 10 chemicals threatening your health right now.

The compounds on the list, Environmental Working Group (EWG) says, are the top 10 high-priority chemicals EPA should act on quickly. In fact, EWG says the new chemical safety law is providing an unprecedented opportunity to perform meaningful risk evaluations that could lead to regulations that actually protect Americans from the worst chemicals.

This is especially important because everyday chemicals found in things like detergents, shampoos, soaps, furniture and clothing are linked to birth defects, cancer, thyroid disease and all sorts of health problems.

They considered each chemical’s health risks, how widely Americans are exposed to it and the likelihood of EPA action under the new law. Here are the 10 chemicals EWG urges the EPA to thoroughly review and regulate as soon as possible:

  1. Asbestos

These is no safe level of exposure when it comes to this bad-news substance. And while most people think it’s been strictly banned since the 1980s, that’s not completely true. According to EWG, “U.S. industry still imports, uses and sells asbestos and asbestos products, including automobile brake pads and clutches, vinyl tile and roofing materials.”

Vinyl flooring also contains toxic phthalates, so it’s best to avoid safer choices like Forest Stewardship Certified hardwood, cork or real linoleum. If you are removing vinyl flooring, take steps to do so safety.

  1. PERC

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has designated perchloroethylene, or PERC, as a “probable human carcinogen.” It can be found in dry-cleaning fluid, spot removers and water repellents.

  1. Phthalates

These chemicals are linked to early puberty in girls and other reproductive harms. Early puberty goes on to raise a women’s risk of breast cancer when she grows up. These trouble phthalate chemicals show up in PVC plastic, toys, nail polish, plastic wrap and fake fragrances.

  1. BPA

BPA toxic effects are far reaching. This carcinogen is linked to infertility, developmental risks and diabetes. BPA is used in food cans and other food containers, as well as cash register receipts. But get this. EWG scoured industry documents and found it’s even turning up in coffee tin containers.

  1. Chlorinated phosphate fire retardants

These chemicals turn up in upholstered furniture, foam cushions, baby car seats and insulation. They are linked to possible nerve and brain damage.



  1. TBBPA and related chemicals

This potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptor is seen in electronics, auto parts and appliances.

  1. Brominated phthalate fire retardants

These chemicals are linked to developmental toxicity, and appear in polyurethane foam for furniture, mattresses and baby products.

  1. 1-Bromopropane

This probable carcinogen is used in aerosol cleaners and adhesives, and is linked to reproductive harm.

  1. DEHA

This probable carcinogen is found in plastic wrap and PVC plastic. It is also linked to developmental toxicity.

  1. P-dichlorobenzene

This probable carcinogen is detected in mothballs and deodorant blocks. It is linked to liver and nerve damage.

Because we aren’t thinking of needed precautions when purchasing and using items, our bodies can become a testing site for toxicity.

Today, we know many of the 80,000 chemicals are tragically toxic. The new requirements under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act now require the EPA perform reviews and risk assessments on chemicals. This opens the door for regulations that could actually protect us and future generations. Environmental Working Group released a list of the top 10 compounds it believe EPA should review first, based on toxicity and how many Americans are impacted by these chemicals each day.

Being mindful of toxins and reading labels before purchasing or using everyday items and avoiding all the items on this list can lead to a healthier and longer life.


Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?



You may have heard that knuckle cracking causes arthritis, but there’s no evidence to support this claim. Knuckle cracking may lead to other issues, though. Keep reading to learn more about this habit and why you may want to cut back on the knuckle cracking.

What the research says about knuckle cracking

Several studies have been done to determine if knuckle cracking is associated with arthritis. To date, no link has been found.

In one report, researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences examined a group of 215 people. Twenty percent of them said they cracked their knuckles regularly.

Results showed 18.1 percent of those participants who cracked their knuckles and 21.5 percent of those who didn’t have arthritis in their hands. The investigators concluded that the chance of having arthritis was about the same in both groups.

In 1998, Dr. Donald Unger performed an informal study that was published as a letter to the editor in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. As part of his experiment, the doctor cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least twice a day for 50 years, while leaving the knuckles on his right hand alone to serve as a control.

Dr. Unger estimated that the knuckles on his left hand were cracked at least 36,500 times. In his letter, he concluded that after 50 years, neither of his hands showed symptoms of arthritis, and there were no differences between the two hands.

The results of a study published in 2017 agreed with Dr. Unger’s conclusions. Researchers found knuckle crackers had the same level of physical function as those who didn’t crack their knuckles.

Complications of cracking knuckles

Knuckle cracking doesn’t cause arthritis, but some research suggests the habit may not be completely harmless.

If a joint gets locked when it pops, knuckle cracking could lead to injuries in your hand.

study conducted in 1990 showed chronic knuckle cracking may affect hand health. Researchers looked at 300 participants and found those who cracked their joints had a higher rate of inflammation and a weaker grip.

This finding is controversial, however. Newer research published in 2017 concluded that knuckle cracking didn’t affect grip strength.

You should see a doctor if you experience the following from knuckle cracking:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • an unusual noise
  • decreased motion

It’s also a good idea to seek professional help if the habit interferes with your daily life.

Treatment for complications

If you experience hand inflammation, you should see your doctor. Treatments to reduce swelling may include:

  • ice or heat therapies
  • Epsom salt baths
  • rest
  • massage
  • certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines

To improve grip strength, your doctor might recommend specific exercises that require you to grasp different devices.

What causes knuckle cracking?

Until recently, researchers believed that the sound of knuckle cracking came from a bubble that was popped when parts of the finger separated.

study published in 2015 challenged this theory. Researchers used MRI scans of fingers as they were cracked in real time and found the noise happens due to the formation of a cavity in the joint.

Breaking the habit

There’s no specific treatment for knuckle cracking. Sometimes, it may become an obsessive habit. In this case, you might want to talk to your doctor about different therapies that could help you cope with knuckle cracking.

If you have a habit of cracking your knuckles and would like to stop, try the following:

  • Keep your hands busy: Twirl a pencil or a coin to occupy your hands and help you forget about cracking your knuckles.
  • Distract yourself: When you feel like cracking your knuckles, stop what you’re doing and move on to a different activity.
  • Use the rubber band method: Some people report success with breaking bad habits, such as knuckle cracking, by tying a rubber band around their wrist and snapping it whenever they are about to engage in the act.
  • See a professional: If knuckle cracking is interfering with your life, you might need professional help to deal with the habit. A doctor or therapist may offer you certain forms of behavioral therapy.


If you crack your knuckles, there aren’t any serious health effects to worry about. In fact, some people report relief when they pop their knuckles.

The habit won’t lead to arthritis, though it may affect hand grip strength. If the habit begins to affect your daily life, talk to your doctor about behavioral therapy.


Medically Reviewed by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR on April 21, 2017 — Written by Julie Marks

Dr. Carteron, FACR, specializes in autoimmunity. She is board-­certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. She is a UCSF clinical faculty member. She is co­founder of HealthWell Foundation, Medical & Scientific Advisory Board chair, and editor of the Sjogren’s Quarterly. She enjoys time in Napa Valley with her family and serving as a catechist.


6 Herbs for Cold and Flu Season


Boost Your Immune System

As the daylight hours shorten, we start to welcome the gifts of fall. Cool, crisp mornings, school year routines, cozy sweaters, and the aroma of wood smoke curling up from the chimney tops. Maybe an apple pie and a trip to the pumpkin patch, too… However, these autumnal delights carry with them a few nasty aspects. Enclosed spaces, re-circulated air, and the worst part of all – the return of the cold and flu season. There is really no practical way, with absolute certainty, to avoid the common cold. Great diet, adequate exercise, and excellent hygiene all play a very important role in preventing or lessening the severity of the “creeping crud,” but those viral invaders are very clever. Lucky for those of us “herbally” inclined, we have a few antiviral, immune-stimulating plant allies to add to our fortification provisions. Here are a few beloved herbs for cold and flu to help you navigate through the season with relative ease.





Perhaps the least well known of this list, astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is an extraordinary immune stimulant and all over tonic. Studies have demonstrated that long-term astragalus use promotes greater antibody secretion and increased lymphocyte production. As an antioxidant and adaptogen, astragalus protects cells from free radical damage and moderates the body’s stress response. A warming herb, it is said to increase “digestive fire,” promoting efficient digestion. Astragalus can be administered as a tincture or a dried, encapsulated herb, or simmered, then steeped with your favorite aromatic herbs for a health-promoting tea.





A favorite of many foragers, elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are a virtual gold mine of antiviral properties. A variety of studies have indicated that elderberry may have an inhibitory effect of influenza pathogens, while also reducing the duration and severity of flu symptoms. Conveniently ripening as the cold and flu season picks up momentum, elderberries make tasty tinctures, syrups, and lozenges, while the dried berries offer teas an immunity-boosting fruity note.





Warming, aromatic ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a familiar and comforting scent of fall that packs a pleasant, but powerful antiviral punch. Fresh ginger was even shown to demonstrate profound inhibition of the human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in a 2013 study. Additionally, ginger stimulates productive expectoration and helps to quiet an upset stomach. Fresh ginger simmered briefly in water makes for an aromatic and enjoyable tea.





Pungent and powerful garlic (Allium sativum) is a favorite of most chefs and “kitchen witches” alike. A well-muscled antimicrobial, garlic does not play nicely with germs of any persuasion. While dried and encapsulated garlic is helpful, when delivered as a component of “fire cider,” or even eaten fresh and raw (for those so brave and daring), garlic is at its most effective.



Lemon Balm


This citrus-scented member of the mint family is an often overlooked antiviral. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) may also be effective in speeding the healing of cold sores. Lemon balm makes a soothing, relaxing cup of antiviral tea, but can be applied as a soothing “poultice” of sorts, or as a tincture.



Rose Hip


The fall bearing fruit of the ever beautiful rose (Rosa spp.) is brimming with vitamin C. Another timely foraged fare, rose hips offer exceptional antioxidant potential, anti-inflammatory benefits, and great immunity support. The jewel red fruits can forage in the fall; after removing the inner hairy seeds, the pulp is made into syrups and jellies or dried for tea and other remedies. Antiviral and immune stimulating herbs are a wonderful tool to utilize during the cold and flu season. While there are no guarantees, a thoughtful plan of prevention and quick acting remedies will help to keep you healthy all year long.



MediHerb®, an Australian company, is a leader in herbal products for healthcare professionals in the United States. MediHerb’s success is fueled by an unwavering commitment to delivering premium-quality, efficacious herbal solutions for optimal patient outcomes.*


MediHerb products are developed by experts and leaders in the field of herbal therapy, drawing on the latest scientific evidence, as well as centuries of traditional knowledge. The positive health results achieved are the strongest possible evidence of their potency and superiority. The aim is to get your patients back to optimum health and enhance their well-being for the long term. MediHerb’s wide range of products can powerfully enhance health and vitality. Whether you’re managing short-term issues or need long-term support, these natural therapies can deliver dramatic positive effects.

Natural Healing Center trusts MediHerb herbal solutions which reflect the company’s philosophy and commitment to quality, purity and high manufacturing standards.




Contributor: 6 Herbs for Cold and Flu Season - LearningHerbs
Copyright © 2017 LearningHerbs.


5 Dangerous Ingredients in your Vitamins and Dietary Supplements

Have you ever seen research questioning the value of vitamin and mineral supplements and wondered what the whole story was? Yes, ideally, we’d get all our holistic nutrition from food. But since most soils are deficient in nutrients, (especially minerals) due to industrial food production practices, getting all our nutrition from food is not realistic. So most of us pop vitamins and other dietary supplements to ensure we’re getting optimal levels of necessary micronutrients. Some of us pop more than others. And we’re getting handed them, just like this packet of samples my doctor recently gave me. [See photos below.]

But what if dangerous ingredients are lurking in your vitamin and mineral supplement? “No”, you exclaim. “Surely not! Those knights in shining armor at the FDA would spring into action to protect us…”

Sigh. Yet again, the political powers that should be protecting us are letting us down. And the industrial powers that be are tossing lots of lovely toxic fillers into your vitamin pills.

Here are the 5 worst (or most dangerous) things to look for in your dietary supplements. If you find them, don’t buy those supplements. Seriously. It’s best to avoid a side of carcinogen with your micronutrients. Maybe it’s all the junk in vitamins and minerals that lead to the studies questioning whether they actually help us. B vitamins with a side of Red #40 probably aren’t going to lead to an optimal health outcome.

Dangerous Ingredient #1: Artificial Colors

Take a look at ingredient lists for any of the following synthetic (artificial) food colorings, all approved by the FDA:[1]

–       FD&C Blue No. 1

–       FD&C Blue No. 2

–       FD&C Green No. 3

–       FD&C Red No. 3

–       FD&C Red No. 40

–       FD&C Yellow No. 5

–       FD&C Yellow No. 6

Why, oh why are there artificial colors in your vitamins?

The FDA states that these artificial colors in your vitamins are added to: “Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and ‘fun’ foods.”

Do we really care if our vitamin pill has a lovely shade of red? Especially considering the FDA itself has “probed” into the connection between artificial food dyes and children’s behavior![2]  Red #40 has been linked to hyperactivity and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, among others, wants the FDA to ban artificial food colors. After all, artificial colors in your vitamins serve no function other than making food look more “fun”, or even worse, cover up the fact that the active ingredients in the vitamin have been degraded by exposure to light, air, moisture, heat, or poor storage conditions.

Additionally, European lawmakers now require a warning label on foods that contain artificial dyes.[3] The label must state: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

Dangerous Ingredient #2: Hydrogenated Oils

Here you thought you were avoiding hydrogenated fats by passing on the margarine. Did you know that your dietary supplement may also have these little toxic nasties? And, to make matters worse, its often partially hydrogenated soybean oil—one of the major fillers in the majority of vitamins today. Unless soy is organic, you can pretty much guarantee it’s genetically modified. So you’re getting a dose of franken-soy with your vitamins.

The FDA knows that hydrogenated fats are bad for us. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans[4] specifically states: “Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.”

The CDC chimed in, posting in January 2014 that:

Consuming trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or ‘bad’) cholesterol. This risk factor contributes to the leading cause of death in the U.S. – coronary heart disease (CHD). Trans fat may also have other adverse health effects like decreasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or ‘good’) cholesterol. Further reducing trans fat consumption by avoiding artificial trans fat could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the U.S.[5]


So why does the FDA allow these dangerous ingredients in your supplements? They’re cheap fillers. People still have this idea that bigger is better. Until we realize that smaller can be just as good, manufacturers will use cheap nasty fillers to give us bigger horse sized pills.

It’s up to you to avoid them, folks.

Dangerous Ingredients #3: Lead, Mercury, & PCBs

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are on everyone’s mind lately. They’ve been shown to be particularly important for pregnant women, babies, and toddlers, [6] as well as for brain and heart health. [7] But not all brands are created equal. Since fish high on the food chain can accumulate mercury, lead, and other contaminants, those metals can make their way into your fish oil supplements. Yuck! Maybe these contaminants are the reason some research showed that fish oil supplements increased prostate cancer risk? [8]

The high levels of PCBs in fish oils led to a lawsuit in California in 2010 claiming that supplement manufacturers should have placed warning labels stating the cancer risk on their fish oil supplements. [9] Testing by Consumer Reports in 2011 showed 1/3 of the fish oils tested had high PCB levels. [10]

What? You don’t want a toxic heavy metal or some PCBs with your EFAs today? Then you’d better be careful of what brand of Omega-3 or EFAs you buy. This is not the time to choose the cheap option—make sure that you choose a variety that has been meticulously tested for lead or mercury contaminants. Your best choices should state that they are “Molecularly distilled and 3rd party tested to ensure PCBs, dioxins, mercury, lead and other contaminants are below acceptable limits set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition and other advisory agencies,” or something similar.

Here’s an even better option: choose wild fish, pasture-raised eggs, or greens for a good dose of Omega-3s!

Talc is not currently considered food grade by the FDA. Although they were considering setting upper limits for asbestos fibers and adding it to the GRAS list way back in 1979,[12] I couldn’t find whether any upper limits have yet been set. (Mind you, the FDA website is pretty impossible to navigate!) But talc is still found in supplements. Yuck!

Dangerous Ingredient #5: Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is yet another one of the nasty and dangerous ingredients in your vitamins or supplements; it is used as a colorant (it’s also used in many cosmetics). Titanium dioxide has a raft of health implications.

Titanium dioxide has been shown to cause lung inflammation[13] and damage,[14] so it’s yet another substance that has an impact on workers at the production level. It has also been implicated in immune system function, with some studies showing DNA damage by Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, albeit marginal damage.[15] Just a wee bit of DNA damage with your vitamins.

Taken internally, it has been shown to cause kidney damage in mice[16] and to induce small intestine inflammation.[17] This is scary considering how many people suffering from Crohn’s and gluten sensitivity are probably taking supplements containing Titanium dioxide.

Yet again, our health is risked so our vitamins can be a pretty color. Very disturbing. Avoid it.

The Solution

The big picture solution is to have an FDA that actually prevents toxic materials getting into our food supply (and dietary supplements are a part of that food supply). But since that seems unlikely anytime soon, we have to take matters into our own hands:



  1. The best solution: Eat certified organic whole foods and take food-based supplements that are tested for heavy metal contamination
  2. Read labels. If you spot any of these nasties in vitamins, take a photo of the label and Tweet it. Tag the manufacturer and store where you found it.
  3. Go post your photo on the manufacturer’s Facebook page asking why those toxic ingredients are there.
  4. Start a petition to get these ingredients out of our food supply.
  5. Write to the FDA asking that they follow the same cautions as Europe, such as their warning labels on foods containing artificial coloring.
  6. Research these ingredients at (the National Institute of Health) so you can answer anyone who comments (ignorantly) that these things must be safe if they’re in our food and not banned.
  7. Buy M&Ms in Europe 😉

If we all kick up a bit of a ruckus, manufacturers will take these dangerous ingredients out.

This is why we only sell Standard Process whole food supplements. Now that you’re aware of all these nasty ingredients in your supplements, Call us for supplements you like to buy! 877.95.DETOX


Written by: Erika Yigzaw

Managing Mental Illness through Natural Remedies

For untold centuries, humans have relied on the food supply as a source of energy, health, and connection. However, in the last six or seven decades, changes in the food supply (and in how we use it) have contributed strongly to the growing epidemic of chronic disease. Hippocrates stated, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Even Thomas Edison in 1902 stated, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

The current method of treatment today in addressing mental health issues involves, psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs. This is regarded as the highest and best possible course of action. This is what I call, “treating parts of a person”, and not the “whole person.” In this methodology, the individual is prescribed medicines that address the symptoms, and creating a new form of addiction. These medicines are producing disturbances in our biochemistry that are harmful to our overall health. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 women taking prescription antidepressants was likely to experience birth defects in pregnancy. Furthermore, Harvard medical school explored how coming off your antidepressant medication can cause disturbing symptoms and set you up for a relapse of depression.

There exists evidence of a physical cause and effect relationship between food and mood. “Nutrition is one of the most obvious, yet under-recognized factors in the development of major trends in mental health,” says Dr. Antonis Kousoulis, deputy director at the Mental Health Foundation. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, have been shown to prevent psychosis – in which sufferers experience hallucinations or delusions – in high-risk people between the ages of 13 and 25. As a bonus, “they also improve cognitive function, improve learning and prevent heart disease”. The UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends at least two portions of fish a week. Vitamin D has also been found to help prevent and contribute to improvements in mental illness. Though found in milk, yogurt, orange juice, salmon, tuna and mackerel, the body’s natural production of vitamin D is most important and generated through exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, psychiatrists can’t predict what adverse side-effects you might experience because not one of them knows how their drugs work. It’s an uneasy thought that the doctors prescribing the drugs don’t even know the mechanism of action of the prescription they’re asking us to take.

As a Psychotherapist, I worked first-hand with a Psychiatrist, in both hospital settings, and outpatient clinics. I witnessed as my clients were being treated with medicines that did little to address the underlying issues. Often, my clients suffered from issues that were merely bandaged by the medical profession. I don’t want to fault the Psychiatrist as this is what they were taught in Medical School. I became tired of seeing this revolving door of everyone getting sick, and no one ever really getting any better.

In as far back as the 1900’s medical professionals understood the relationship between the gut and the brain, and some have called our gut, “the second brain.” The treatment methods that existed in the past, are looked at as “odd,” or non-conventional today. What occurred that made that shift? The rise of the pharmaceutical company exploded in the airwaves. Not only did the pharmaceutical company have an opportunity to promote their drugs through public domain (tv. radio, websites), they also made their way into medical schools where they controlled the education of future doctors. This didn’t happen by coincidence. The Nielson Co. estimates that there’s an average of 80 drug ads every hour of every day on American television.

I want to help you get “un-stuck,” introduce you to treatment methods that address the “whole client” vs. the medical model, which is a form of compartmentalizing the client.  The current medical model in treating mental health issues is doing you a disservice as they only treat the symptoms. Your local holistic practitioner shouldn’t go unnoticed. They are your Registered Nurse, your Naturopath, your Nutritionist or Chiropractor. Seek them out because they believe in treating “the whole person.” They work to address underlying issues and causes to help prevent, or even reverse disease. Professionally your holistic health care practitioner will not tell you that they treat disease or can prevent or reverse conditions, but their methodology of treatment does exactly this.  We don’t want to discount the benefits that Allopathic doctors offer, but I do want you to know your options. We can reverse disease by having good quality nutrition, and Type 2 Diabetes is an example of that. I’ll explain how prescription drugs deplete the body of necessary nutrients that the brain needs to prevent mental health issues.  Let’s break away from the stigma, the current and expected method of treatment, and help you find long-lasting optimal wellness. I don’t want you to merely survive your condition, I want you to overcome it. Like anything, there are no guarantees, however what I can assure is that when you try something new, you will always get a different result.


For more information on how natural healing can help you or your loved ones,  please contact Natural Healing Center at 877.95.DETOX or


October 23, 2017

Article written by, Karin Awad LMFT

Karin Awad is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, and specializes in addiction treatment. She began her work with children and families, and has spent time working with the severely mentally ill in psychiatric clinics, private practice, and eventually spent most of her time working in addiction treatment. Karin has held different roles, from Admissions Counselor, Therapist, to Program Director, and Patient Advocate. She has been an educator and advocate of drug-prevention.

 For the last year and a half, Karin has gained education on clinical nutrition through Standard Process. During this time, Karin has learned that treating mental health must include nutrition, and to separate the two would be a disservice to her clients.

 Karin is not a nutritionist. She is a psychotherapist with education on nutrition, and wants to educate the public on their options in addressing their mental health issues. Karin has a passion for helping others get well. Valuing both traditional and holistic medicine, she is a passionate believer in and teacher of the power of personal responsibility in health and wellness.



HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training


HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. The afterburn effect is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts

1. Increases your Metabolism
Combining high intensity with interval training results in EPOC, which speeds your metabolic rate and “translates into a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine,” says Salvador. This means you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve left the gym.

2. Quick and Convenient
Long gone are the days of not having enough time for exercise. HIIT workouts can be done anywhere: at home, in a hotel room, in a park, at the beach, etc. And most are 30 minutes or less! Who can’t spare that?

3. No Equipment Necessary
No dumbbells? Not to worry! HIIT workouts generally use only your body weight, since the focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. These workouts result in optimal muscle building and muscle retention couples with fat loss and increased calorie burn.



Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout

You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals.

Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal.

But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.

Here is a detailed guide to optimal nutrition after workouts.

Eating After a Workout Is Important

To understand how the right foods can help you after exercise, it’s important to understand how your body is affected by physical activity.

When you’re working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged.

After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins.

Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.

Doing this helps your body:

  • Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
  • Restore glycogen stores.
  • Enhance recovery.

BOTTOM LINE: Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate the growth of new muscle.

Protein, Carbs, and Fat

This section discusses how each macronutrient — protein, carbs, and fat — is involved in your body’s post-workout recovery process.

Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle

As explained above, exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein.

The rate at which this happens depends on the exercise and your level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue.

It’s recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout.

Studies have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise.

Carbs Help With Recovery

Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.

The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training.

For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming, etc.), you might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.

Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis.

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time.

Therefore, consuming both carbs and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis.

Try consuming the two in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein). For example, 40 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbs.

Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who exercise often, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts then this becomes less important.

Fat Is Not That Bad

Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients.

While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.

For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk.

Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected.

It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.

BOTTOM LINE: A post-workout meal with both protein and carbs will enhance glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis. Consuming a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein) is a practical way to achieve this.

The Timing of Your Post-Workout Meal Matters

Your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising.

Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes.

In fact, it’s believed that the delay of carb consumption by as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.

However, if you consumed a meal before exercising, it’s likely that the benefits from that meal still apply after training.

BOTTOM LINE: Eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes of exercising. However, you can extend this period a little longer, depending on the timing of your pre-workout meal.

Foods to Eat After You Workout

The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout.

Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.

The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chocolate milk
  • Quinoa
  • Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables


  • Animal- or plant-based protein powder
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar
  • Tuna


  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Nut Butters
  • Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)


Written by Arlene Semeco, MS, RD

Arlene is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Sports Nutritionist by The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). She completed an MSc in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University and a BSc in Food and Nutrition from The University of Alabama. Arlene has worked in supplement development, sports nutrition and is currently working in clinical nutrition counseling for a rehabilitation hospital. She is a 3-time Olympic swimmer and loves running and paddle boarding. With her expertise in the world of sports, she has been able to apply her knowledge of nutrition to help athletes improve performance and achieve their goals in different sports.


3 Ways Nutrition Influences Student Learning Potential and School Performance


Advocates of child health have experimented with students’ diets in the United States for more than twenty years.  Initial studies focused on benefits of improving the health of students are apparent.  Likewise, improved nutrition has the potential to positively influence students’ academic performance and behavior.

Though researchers are still working to definitively prove the link, existing data suggests that with better nutrition students are better able to learn, students have fewer absences, and students’ behavior improves, causing fewer disruptions in the classroom.[1]

Improve Nutrition to Increase Brain Function

Several studies show that nutritional status can directly affect mental capacity among school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease dopamine transmission, thus negatively impacting cognition.[2] Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine, and zinc, are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration.[3]  Additionally, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition, and reasoning.[4] There are also a number of studies showing that improvements in nutrient intake can influence the cognitive ability and intelligence levels of school-aged children.[5]

Provide a Balanced Diet for Better Behaviors and Learning Environments

Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn. Because improvements in nutrition make students healthier, students are likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently.  Studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems[6] and that sugar has a negative impact on child behavior.[7]  However, these effects can be counteracted when children consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Thus students will have more time in class, and students will have fewer interruptions in learning over the course of the school year.  Additionally, students’ behavior may improve and cause fewer disruptions in the classroom, creating a better learning environment for each student in the class.

Promote Diet Quality for Positive School Outcomes

Sociologists and economists have looked more closely at the impact of a student’s diet and nutrition on academic and behavioral outcomes.  Researchers generally find that a higher quality diet is associated with better performance on exams,[8] and that programs focused on increasing students’ health also show modest improvements in students’ academic test scores.[9]  Other studies find that improving the quality of students’ diets leads to students being on task more often, increases math test scores, possibly increases reading test scores and increases attendance.[10]  Additionally, eliminating the sale of soft drinks in vending machines in schools and replacing them with other drinks had a positive effect on behavioral outcomes such as tardiness and disciplinary referrals.[11]

Every student has the potential to do well in school. Failing to provide good nutrition puts them at risk for missing out on meeting that potential.  However, taking action today to provide healthier choices in schools can help to set students up for a successful future full of possibilities.


Contributor: David Just Ph.D. – Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs


10 Impressive Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc on June 4, 2017


1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat.

In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated (1).

However, new data is showing that saturated fats are mostly harmless. Many studies with hundreds of thousands of people have found no link to heart disease (2).

Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average saturated fats, like the ones you would find in cheese or steak.

They contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.

They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into so-called ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

BOTTOM LINE: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.


2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy

Coconut is an exotic food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.

However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.

They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.

These people are in great health, with no evidence of heart disease (3).

Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconuts and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (4).

BOTTOM LINE: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut fat.


3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat

Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.

While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important too.

It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is not a calorie.

The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats (56).

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day (7).

BOTTOM LINE: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.


4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid.

When lauric acid is digested, it forms a substance called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi (8).

For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (910).

BOTTOM LINE: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.


5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less

One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.

This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized because ketones can have an appetite reducing effect (11).

In one study, varying amounts of medium and long-chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average (12).

Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch (13).

These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.

BOTTOM LINE: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.


6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currently being studied to treat various disorders.

The best-known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children (14).

This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.

For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.

Because the MCTs in coconut oil gets shipped to the liver and turned into ketones, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (1516).

BOTTOM LINE: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase the blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.


7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels

Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats.

The saturated fats in coconut oil may increase “good” HDL cholesterol in your body, but also help convert the “bad” LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.

Coconut oil may also improve other risk factors and therefore protect against heart disease.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil (17).

There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status (1819).

BOTTOM LINE: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.


8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen

Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.

Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and fat content of the skin (20).

Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (2122)

Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath (232425).

BOTTOM LINE: Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as a mouthwash.


9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use carbs for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s (26).

In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s (27).

Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease (2829).

BOTTOM LINE: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketones, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.


10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat

Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.

Coconut oil appears to be especially effective at reducing belly fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.

This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic diseases.

Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

In a study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (17).

Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day (30).

This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of belly fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.

You can read more about the weight loss effects of coconut oil in this article.

In order to enjoy the health benefits outlined in the article, then you must get organic, virgin coconut oil, not the refined stuff.

I personally cook almost everything I eat in coconut oil and my health has never been better.


What Everyone Should Know About Inflammation: A Cardiologist Explains

by Dr. Joel Kahn

Regular readers are aware that a process in our bodies called inflammation is involved in many aspects of human health and disease. For example, you may have read that a breakfast of Egg McMuffins, sleep apnea, obesity and ultra-exercise are inflammatory, while turmeric, meditation and the Mediterranean diet are anti-inflammatory, and so on. Lost in the search for vitality and longevity is an understanding of what inflammation is and what can be done to tame it. In many ways, inflammation is a Goldilocks process – you don’t want too much or too little, but just the right amount.

When I explain inflammation to patients, I point out that the middle of the word is “flame,” and that it comes from the Latin “I ignite.” Inflammation is a complex process of cells and chemicals in our bodies standing ready to fight infections and other threats, and is a life saver when it’s a controlled reaction to a threat. For example, you may experience inflammation when you’re working on your deck and get a wood splinter. Maybe a mosquito lands on your back and enjoys some of your blood (hopefully full of fresh green juice!). Maybe you sprained your ankle when your perfect yoga hand stand came crashing down.

Over 2,000 years ago, the signs of acute inflammation were described as including pain, warmth, redness and swelling. This “first responder” wave of healing occurs because cells in the area are surveying their environment all the time with detectors on their surface that act much like radar watching for invaders. These detectors are called pattern recognition receptors (PRR). If a PRR detects something that has a “foreign” structure – a pathogen-associated molecular pattern, or PAMP – it will ring the fire alarm internally in the cell and surrounding blood vessels.

Chemicals begin to pour out that cause blood vessels to dilate (redness, warmth and swelling); others increase the sensitivity to pain, and the next thing you know, your ankle or finger is a hot, red, sore mess. These chemicals attract white blood cells that begin to clean up the area by engulfing foreign proteins. Enough white blood cells clumped together is called pus. After a period of increased blood flow, helping to dilute the irritant and bringing fighters to the scene, other factors that promote clotting are released and work to balance and decrease the blood flow. This is what happens when you scrape your knee and it weeps for a while but then scabs over.  READ ON