8 Nutrients Essential for a Healthy Heart

Nutrients Essential for a Healthy Heart

Your heart works around the clock, pumping nutrients and precious oxygen to your body’s tissues. It never takes a break. For the average adult, it beats a whopping 115,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day (1).

Which is why it’s important that you do anything in your power to ensure it stays healthy. Especially considering the fact that heart disease is the single most common cause of death worldwide (2).

Living a heart-friendly lifestyle involves regular exercise, not smoking, and controlling your stress levels. Just as important as what you do, is what you eat.

Scientists have discovered that your heart needs specific nutrients to stay healthy…

1. Plant-Based Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a critical role in keeping your heart healthy because they protect your body from one of the most common causes of heart disease: the oxidation of cholesterol (3).

When cholesterol oxidizes, it causes fatty plaque to build up on the walls of your arteries, which can result in increased blood pressure and an increased risk of a heart attack.

The key is to consume plant-based antioxidants. Studies using synthetic vitamins—what you’ll find in most multivitamins—show no benefit, while antioxidants from fruits, veggies and herbs are shown to be protective (4).

One of the best ways to get more antioxidants in your diet is to add an organic green juice to your daily routine. Sprinkle some antioxidant-rich berries in for an added heart-healthy boost.

2. Essential Fatty Acids

Researchers have found your body needs a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. The problem is, most people get far too many omega-6s from processed foods.

This results in increased inflammation, a higher risk of obesity, and an increased risk of heart disease (56). To remedy this issue, it’s important to get plenty of omega-3s from wild fish, flax seeds or chia seeds (7).

Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll want to avoid fish oil. While eating fish is good for you, most fish oils are highly refined and can easily turn rancid, which makes them pro-inflammatory in the body.

In fact, a complete review of 20 fish oil studies by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that taking fish oil had no heart-health benefits (8). Stick to wild fish or plant omegas for a healthy heart.

3. Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is an enzyme found in almost every cell in the body.  It’s an antioxidant, it helps cells generate energy, and delivers a wide range of heart benefits.

According to a study published by the College of Pharmacy and the Department of Medicine in Canada, “CoQ10 has significant potential for cardiovascular [disease] prevention as a standalone nutritional supplement.” (9)

CoQ10 is especially important for anyone taking cholesterol lowering medication. That’s because the class of drugs known as statins block your body’s production of the essential enzyme.

Plant sources of CoQ10 include spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and legumes. Leafy greens also have the added benefit of reactivating CoQ10 in the body.

4. Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (N.O.) is a signaling molecule that helps your cells communicate and blood vessels expand. As you grow older, your body gets less efficient at making it and relies more on external sources.

Nitric oxide plays an important role in healthy blood pressure, improved blood flow, energy levels and better athletic performance (10).

Consequently, it’s a good idea to help replenish your body’s nitric oxide levels if you are over 40. You can increase your N.O. levels through nitrate-rich plants including leafy greens, beets and even (dark) chocolate.

5. Magnesium

When it comes to heart-healthy nutrients, magnesium is the most overlooked. But that doesn’t mean it’s less important.

Evidence suggests that magnesium has a direct effect on the ability of your blood vessels to relax (11). So, when you’re deficient in magnesium, it can result in higher blood pressure.

This, in turn, can significantly increase your risk of a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure (12).

Since magnesium deficiencies are exceptionally common, this is a nutrient you don’t want to brush off. Boost your magnesium intake with almonds, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and spinach.

6.  Curcumin (Turmeric Root)

Curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, has a number of benefits that make it incredibly healthy for your heart (13).

Numerous studies have found that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, it fights inflammation, and it also supports the function of the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels, thereby supporting healthy blood pressure (14).

Collectively, these properties make curcumin an essential part of any heart-healthy diet. Just be aware that curcumin has low bioavailability.

Combine turmeric with black pepper when adding it to recipes to boost absorption or take a supplement with turmeric with essential fatty acids to increase absorption.

7. Sulforaphane

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain a compound called sulforaphane. These veggies can help the body detoxify toxins, and are strongly associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer (15). 

How does this keep your heart healthy? Well, when toxins from the environment get into your body, they cause oxidative damage which can compromise the cells in your arteries and heart.

But sulforaphane can rapidly remove toxins found in air pollution, such as benzene, thereby helping to protect the heart from its damaging effects (16).

In addition to broccoli, other foods that contain sulforaphane are cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.

If you have a hard time stomaching these types of veggies, you can get a supplement that contains sulforaphane instead.

8. Folate

Folate is a mineral that’s often associated with maternal health. But healthy prenatal development is far from its only benefit.

Folate helps decrease the amount of homocysteine in your blood. Which is important because when homocysteine levels get too high, studies have found that it significantly increases the risk of heart disease (17).

Rather than the synthetic folic acid found in most multivitamins, aim to get the natural variety (folate) which is found in beans, asparagus, and leafy greens such as spinach, and kale.

One of the easiest and most economical ways to get many of these heart-healthy nutrients is to drink a green juice every day. Pick one with a variety of leafy greens, veggies and antioxidant-rich fruits and you’ll give your heart the natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs.

Your heart works tirelessly over the years. Keep it ticking in a healthy way by exercising regularly, managing stress, and making sure you get some of these essential nutrients every day. They might be just what you need to keep the beat going for a long and healthy life.

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Love

Benefits of Love

No matter if you’re in a relationship or are single, love is an essential part of a happy and healthy life. Whether it’s family, friends or other close relationships, strong connections can lead to some surprising health benefits.

And while new love may make your heart skip a beat, true health benefits come from love that is built on a feeling of being valued and respected. Those strong connections and sense of belonging can be found in relationships with a partner, parent or good friend.

See the five surprising ways that love can benefit your health, and take time to strengthen your relationships or even build new ones. In doing so, you’ll be nourishing a healthy, love-filled life.

1. Enjoy a Happier Life

It may seem obvious, but if your life is full of love, then it will likely be full of happiness. They go hand-in-hand. In fact, one study found that families who have a strong connection and social support system (love) are significantly happier. The study also noted that family income had no effect on happiness. So the old adage, “money can’t buy you love” could be changed to “you don’t need money to have love.”

2. Live a Longer Life

A growing body of research reveals that (happily) married people live longer. One study, for example, evaluated almost 6,000 people and found that people who have never been married have a significantly shorter lifespan. But this doesn’t mean you must be married to extend your life. The point is; love is about mutual support. Those with a strong social support system have protective health benefits that support a long life.

3. Fewer Colds & Flu

Because supportive relationships can reduce stress, your immune system may be better able to fight off invaders that can make you sick. A landmark paper conducted by Carnegie Mellon University researchers showed that those who had positive emotions were better able to fight off the cold and influenza viruses.

4. Better Blood Pressure

Surprisingly enough, love can also lower your blood pressure. One study, for example, compared the blood pressures of single, happily married, and unhappily married people. While those who were happily married had the best blood pressure averages, those who were unhappily married had the worst blood pressure of all the test subjects. Being single and having a healthy social network also led to good results.

5. Healthier Eating Habits

Another factor that can play into the connection between love and health is the “contagion” effect. Scientists have discovered we are strongly influenced by those we are closest to. This effect is so strong that we’ll adopt those behaviors, whether it’s going to the gym or walking around the block. And if someone close to you starts a good habit such as eating more fruits and veggies, you’re more likely to as well. Healthy is contagious.

As humans, we have an inherent need to feel connected, respected, and valued by other people. Love is essential to health and happiness.

Heavy Metals Exposure and Heart Disease

Heavy Metal Exposure and Heart Disease

Heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead are well-known to be extremely toxic to your body. Countless studies have found they can damage brain cells, cause organ toxicity, accelerate physical aging, and even increase the risk of cancer by damaging your DNA (1).

But now, new research is surfacing that indicates heavy metal exposure could significantly increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Heavy Metals & Heart Disease

Epidemiologists, or scientists who study disease within populations of people, have become increasingly concerned over the link between heavy metals and heart disease.

One meta-analysis conducted by a group of epidemiologists evaluated over 37 different studies on the topic. They concluded that exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper is associated with an increased risk of CVD and coronary heart disease (2).

“It’s clear from our analysis that there’s a possible link between exposure to heavy metals or metalloids and risk of conditions such as heart disease, even at low doses—and the greater the exposure, the greater the risk,” explains Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, the lead scientist of the meta-analysis (3).

So not only can heavy metals promote the development of CVD, but there’s also what scientists call a dose-response relationship. In other words, the higher the exposure, the greater the risk. Even worse, researchers have found that the negative effects of heavy metals can occur with exposure levels well below what’s considered “safe” by many public health organizations (45).

This means you don’t need to be exposed to high levels of heavy metals to be at risk for CVD. Chronic, low-level exposure can also adversely affect your cardiovascular system. Which means the majority of the world’s population could be subjected to the damaging effects of heavy metals.

How Heavy Metals Can Damage the Heart

How Heavy Metals Can Cause Cardiovascular Harm

There are a variety of risk factors for heart disease, from family history to lifestyle. Here are three ways that heavy metals can damage the heart and contribute to cardiovascular disease.

1. Heavy Metals Contribute to Oxidative Stress

Cardiovascular disease often begins with atherosclerosis—the narrowing of arteries from the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol). In other words, one the primary causes of CVD is oxidative stress (6). 

One of the main ways in which heavy metals damage your body is through oxidative stress (7). By increasing oxidative stress, heavy metals can promote atherosclerosis, which leads to CVD (8).

Studies have also found that heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead compromise your body’s ability to defend itself from oxidative stress. Heavy metals bind to and cripple glutathione—an antioxidant that serves as a powerful defense against oxidative stress (910). This leaves you much more vulnerable to the harmful cardiovascular effects of heavy metals.

2. Heavy Metals Trigger Inflammation

Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exposure can also cause chronic inflammation which plays a pivotal role in oxidative stress and CVD (1112).

In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, inflammation is a primary risk factor of CVD because it promotes atherosclerosis (13).

Many experts now believe that systemic inflammation is one of the biggest underlying causes of heart disease (more so than elevated cholesterol), and is a major risk factor for many diseases (14).

3. Heavy Metals Can Cause High Blood Pressure

Since the oxidative stress caused by heavy metals leads to fatty plaque deposits in the arteries, it can also significantly raise your blood pressure (15). High blood pressure, as you may know, can markedly increase your risk of developing heart disease or a heart attack (16).

Exposure to lead is a well-known culprit of raising blood pressure. Effects are seen with blood lead levels as low as 0.10 umol/L. And because lead is stored in bone, it is gradually released back in the body. This means that even childhood exposure to lead can have lasting effects (17).

Additionally, other studies have found that arsenic, antimony and tungsten exposure are associated with high blood pressure and CVD (181920). 

Read MoreHow Blueberries Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Common Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure

Since there are so many different ways in which heavy metals can promote heart disease, it makes them a huge concern; especially since it only takes small doses to experience the negative effects. Here are some of the most common ways you can be exposed to heart-damaging heavy metals:

  • Antimony: furniture, ceramics, gun powder, food, drinking water, and certain prescription drugs.
  • Arsenic: soil, crops, fertilizer, tobacco, drinking water, rice, cereals, and dairy products.
  • Cadmium: batteries, metal jewelry, chocolate, grains, second-hand cigarette smoke, fertilizer, and plastics.
  • Lead: old house paint, gun powder, batteries, drinking water, lipstick, lead-glazed ceramics, dust, imported canned foods.
  • Mercury: seafood, corn syrup, rice, beauty products, old dental fillings, and broken fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Tungstenair pollution, drinking water, food, and industrial pollution.

Minimizing the Risks of Heavy Metals

With all the sources of exposure out there, it’s impossible to completely eliminate heavy metals from your life. So how do you protect yourself? Try these strategies to potentially minimize the damaging effects of heavy metals.

Detox Accumulated Heavy Metals

When you’re exposed to heavy metals, they don’t just leave the body once the damage is done. Instead, they accumulate in your tissues where they can continuously wreak havoc on your health.

This is why detoxing heavy metals from the body is a popular strategy. Nano-sized natural liquid zeolite  can travel to where heavy metals tend to accumulate. From there, they bind to heavy metals like a magnet and escort them out of the body.

Fight Oxidative Stress with Antioxidants

Since most of the damage caused by heavy metals is the result of oxidative stress, getting plenty of food-based antioxidants in your diet is an excellent idea. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative stress.

When you eat antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables, you give your body a fighting chance against oxidative stress. This means antioxidants could minimize the adverse effects of heavy metals.

If you have a tough time getting enough antioxidant-rich foods in your diet on a regular basis, an organic green juice powder would be your best bet. You can also increase your intake of antioxidant-rich herbs.

The Bottom Line

Most people are well aware that low levels of physical exercise, high blood pressure, and genetics can impact your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) later on in life. But did you know that a growing body of evidence suggests that heavy metals can also increase your risk of CVD?

That’s because heavy metal exposure may contribute to high blood pressure, rampant oxidative stress and systemic inflammation in the body. This, in turn, causes a wide range of cardiovascular health complications like plaque buildups, high blood pressure, and even arterial dysfunction.

Popular strategies to protect yourself from the negative effects of heavy metals include detoxifying with zeolite, getting plenty of antioxidants to combat oxidative stress.

5 Ways CBD Oil Can Help You Lose Weight

Reaching your ideal weight can be a huge challenge. At times, it might even seem impossible. People often hold this perspective on weight loss because they can’t seem to succeed despite their best efforts. Rest assured, if you’re one of these people, the problem isn’t you. The problem lies in your strategy.

Just like with evidence-based strategies to get a lean tummy, more often than not, weight loss is about the little evidence-based habits that add up to profound change.

If you’re already working on healthy habits, CBD Oil may tip the scales in your favor thanks to five key benefits that support weight loss.

1. CBD Oil May Help You Burn More Calories

Research suggests that the cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp can affect your metabolism, which could make it much easier to shed unwanted pounds.

One Korean study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry discovered that CBD can affect specific proteins and genes in such a way that promotes lipolysis and reduces lipogenesis. In other words, CBD both promoted the breakdown of fat cells and discouraged the generation of new fat cells (1).

But that’s not all. The Korean researchers also discovered that CBD can modulate the body’s metabolism by promoting fat browning. A process where white fat is converted into brown fat. Why does that matter?

White fat is the type of fat that stores lots of energy. It forms when you consume too many calories and don’t exercise enough. You know, it’s the stuff you wish would go away when looking in the mirror. Brown fat, however, has a high number of mitochondria. This type of fat actually burns calories and can help you maintain a lean, healthy weight (2).

2. CBD Oil May Ease Temporary Inflammation

Inflammation and carrying excess weight often go hand-in-hand. This association is well-established in the scientific community. In fact, a simple search in the US National Library of Medicine results in over 10,000 articles on the topic (S). Without getting into the nitty-gritty science of this relationship, here’s a quick overview of some popular studies:

  • Elevated inflammatory markers are often associated with future weight gain (3).
  • Inflammation begins in fat cells themselves. As fat mass expands, inflammation proportionally increases (4).
  • Inflammation causes insulin resistance (5), which in turn can promote obesity (6).

With this in mind, it makes sense that managing inflammation could help you maintain a healthy weight. This is where CBD oil comes into play. Researchers have found that the CBD in hemp may ease temporary inflammation by targeting α3 glycine receptors in the body (7).

The strong relationship between inflammation and weight gain is also why scientists have proposed that diets high in anti-inflammatory foods could help treat obesity (8).

3. CBD Oil May Improve Sleep Quality

When you’re looking to lose weight, sleep is probably the last thing you would think of, but it shouldn’t be. That’s because studies have found that decreased sleep duration and quality are associated with weight gain (910). In some cases, it also increases the risk of obesity.

Experts believe this happens for several reasons. One of them being that reduced sleep duration and quality results in more fatigue. Less energy throughout the day means you will be less likely to exercise. Other studies have found that sleep deprivation can cause fluctuations in the hormones leptin and ghrelin which can increase your appetite (11).

Since poor sleep quality and deprivation can increase your weight, it makes sense to do the opposite: improve the quality of your sleep. CBD Oil may be the answer. Research has found that the CBD in hemp can have a positive impact on your sleep.

One systematic review, for example, found that CBD was effective at treating the symptoms of insomnia (12). That means CBD shows promise for reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, preventing disrupted sleep or nighttime waking, and improving daytime tiredness.

4. CBD Oil May Melt Away Stress

Stress is another important component of maintaining a healthy weight that people often overlook. Every time you get stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. In small doses, this is fine. But if you’re constantly stressed out, this chronic release of cortisol can cause you to gain a considerable amount of weight. One study even found that elevated cortisol levels from chronic stress can increase the accumulation of fat around your midsection (13).

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) also plays an important role in stress adaptation—or how you cope with stress (14). Cannabinoids such as CBD bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system to balance the body. And research shows that CBD can significantly decrease the levels of cortisol in the body to help reduce the effects of stress (15).

5. CBD Oil May Reduce Oxidative Stress

The cannabinoids, including CBD, in hemp are also known to be powerful antioxidants (16). This means they can protect your body from oxidative stress. Why does this matter? Adipose tissue, or fat cells, can ramp up the body’s production of reactive oxygen species, or ROS (17). In turn, these ROS can cause oxidative stress and promote inflammation (18), which can result in weight gain.

In theory, this means the more weight you carry, the harder it is to lose. All thanks to oxidative stress. To drive this point further, studies have even shown that diets high in antioxidants have positive effects on weight loss (1920). Which is why antioxidant-rich hemp oil may help with weight loss.

The Bottom Line

CBD Oil is becoming an increasingly popular dietary supplement due to the growing body of scientific research that supports its benefits. This article specifically focused on the evidence supporting CBD oil’s ability to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Research suggests CBD oil does this by boosting your metabolism, promoting fat browning, easing temporary inflammation, improving sleep quality, reducing stress, and acting as an antioxidant in the body. All of this suggests that CBD Oil may have multiple benefits for your waistline.

Calming CBD Minty Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold outside, hot chocolate is a comforting way to warm your spirits and your insides. And with calming CBD Oil in every delicious sip, our minty chocolate elixir is sure to give you back your glow.
Packed with organic goodness, our vegan hot chocolate recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth, and help you slay stress. Drink in the morning for a better way to start your day, or in the evening hours to warm up chilly nights.

Calming CBD Minty Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) organic unsweetened plant-based milk (pea or oat is creamiest)
  • 1 organic pure mint tea bag (we like Numi Moroccan Mint)
  • ½ tsp. organic cocoa powder (add more for extra chocolate flavor)
  • 1 tsp. organic maple syrup
  • Dash of organic plant-based creamer (we prefer coconut)
  • 1 dropperful (1 mL) of Calm Premium CBD Oil (25mg CBD)

Instructions

Pour the cup of milk in a small saucepan, then add the mint tea bag (wrap the string around handle) and heat on stove. Remove from heat before it boils, swirl milk around pan and let the tea bag steep for 5 minutes to infuse the milk with natural mint flavor.

Remove tea bag and into the milk whisk ½ teaspoon (or more to your taste) of cocoa powder, along with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Pour minty hot chocolate into a mug and stir in 1 dropperful of Calm Premium CBD Oil for 25mg of minty calming CBD. Sit back and enjoy!

Rich in flavor and soothing superfoods, our minty hot chocolate helps to ease the stresses of everyday life. Mint is recognized for its ability to soothe digestive distress, while cannabidiol (CBD) Oil is renowned for how it calms stress. Together, they create a cozy and healthy comfort food.

7 Effective Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Tips for holiday stress management

There are plenty of things to love about the holiday season. But the holiday season isn’t all cupcakes and unicorns for everyone, especially since many people may be spending the holidays apart. Whether you have a socially-distanced gathering, or organize a large Zoom feast, it can all add to holiday stress.

Things don’t have to be that way though. With some simple tips, you can minimize dreaded holiday stress and savor the holidays, no matter what they look like this year.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

The holidays aren’t about perfection, and things probably won’t be the same compared to years past, so abandon any sky-high expectations you might have. They’re not worth the disappointment.

Instead, try to distill any plans down to what matters most, and focus on one or two special activities. Then, strive to live in the present moment. Enjoy the things that are right in front of you as they unfold.

2. Keep Up Your Self-Care Routine

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” –Old Zen Proverb

Self-care is essential, especially when you’re too busy for it. When your schedule is overflowing it’s easy to cut corners on self-care, but making time for the things that refresh and rejuvenate your spirit are essential.

A good self-care routine is an antidote for stress. But if it seems impossible to cut back on a packed day, consider adding CBD Oil to your routine, to help ease the effects of stress.

3. Exercise (Even Just a Little)

Speaking of self-care, regular exercise is an essential part of stress reduction, especially during the holiday season, helping to maintain a healthy mood.

In fact, according to Michael Otto, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Boston University, “usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” This means you’ll feel better and be more resilient to stress, even if you only have time to go for a short walk (1).

Furthermore, exercise can also help improve the quality of your sleep, enhance your energy levels, and encourage mental alertness. All of which are great ways to gain the edge you need during your busy holiday season.

4. Get Some Sun (or Sunshine Vitamin)

Sunlight triggers a release of serotonin in the body—the hormone that’s associated with an elevated mood, tranquility, and focus (2). This means you will be less likely to get overwhelmed with stress.

Plus, sunlight is one of the best ways to get vitamin D, an essential nutrient for fighting off stress effects (3). However, the sun can be in short supply over the holidays and northern latitudes make it next to impossible to make vitamin D. So, opt for a plant-based vitamin D supplement to get your sunshine vitamin.

5. Take Care of Your Immune System

Stress can decimate your immune system, at a time when you need it most. So, protect yourself by bolstering your immune system. Stronger natural immunity makes it less likely you’ll get sick. Some of the best ways to take care of your immune system include:

6. Remember to Breathe (Deeply)

One of the best tactics to quickly melt away stress is to stop whatever you’re doing and take several deep breaths. Focus all of your attention on these breaths. Nothing else. Continue until you feel that stress has lost some of its grip over you.

Remarkably, scientists have found that this simple strategy is exceptionally effective. One study, for example, found that deep breathing can drastically improve your mood and reduce stress (4). Deep breathing was also found to lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

7. Unplug & Recharge

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your phone can cause a surprising amount of stress with its constant notifications. Research shows the average Apple phone user checks their phone up to 80 times per day!

According to David Greenfield, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, “smartphones put us in an ever-increasing state of hyper-vigilance, where we’re always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email, and more. This keeps the adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated.”

Try setting aside blocks of time each day to turn off your phone, especially at meals and before bed. You may be surprised at how much it has an effect on your peace of mind once you get past the constant urge to check your phone.

Plus, taking breaks from technology can also boost your sleep quality, improve your mental wellbeing, and help increase your motivation.

The holidays should be a time for loved ones, and immersing yourself in positive energy and relaxation. But this busy time can create a lot of holiday stress. Use these strategies to reduce the effects of stress, so you can have a happy and healthy holiday.

Protecting Yourself from Toxic PFAS

Toxic chemicals. Rising cases of sickness. A shocking cover up. It has the makings of a Hollywood movie. Indeed, the release of the blockbuster film Dark Waters had all of these gripping plot points, based on the true story of how a toxic chemical called PFOA contaminated a West Virginia town’s water supply.

Thanks in part to the movie and increased media attention about toxic chemicals, more communities across the U.S. are discovering their drinking water may be contaminated by PFOA or one of the other related chemicals in a category called PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances).

Whether you know it or not, it’s likely you already have PFAS in your body. The CDC estimates that as many as 97% of Americans have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood (1).

Most PFAS are Toxic Forever Chemicals

Scientists have found that PFAS never degrade or break down (2). For this reason, PFAS are dubbed “forever chemicals.” This means once PFAS get into the environment, they persist virtually forever. And research shows that it takes years before any PFAS starts to leave your body (3).

The problem is that this issue has been undetected for decades. For the past 60 years, industrial companies used PFAS for a wide range of applications. This includes carpet protectants, food packaging, pesticides, non-stick cookware, waterproof textiles, stain repellants, and pesticides.

Companies had the public convinced that these chemicals were completely safe. But it turns out that multiple organizations have suppressed the truth about PFAS to protect their profits (4).

Thanks to several independently funded studies, researchers have now uncovered the cold hard truth: PFAS have poisoned the environment on a global scale and are a serious threat to virtually every person on this planet.

The Pervasive Reach of PFAS

Once PFAS get into the environment, they readily make their way into the food chain, going from the factory floor to drinking water and even the dinner table with ease.

PFAS leach into the environment from a wide range of sources. This includes landfills, factories, and military bases. From these sites, PFAS contaminate the air, soil, and water.

Due to the fact that PFAS are water soluble, they readily leach into groundwater and travel far. One report in the prestigious scientific journal Nature revealed that “PFAS were found in the drinking water of more than 16 million Americans in 33 states” (5). And experts believe that due to a lack of data in many states, these numbers are grossly underestimated (6).

But you don’t even have to have PFAS in your water supply to be exposed. People often turn to bottled water either for convenience or because they have concerns about the quality of their tap water. Yet recent tests show that many bottled water brands tested positive for PFAS (7).

Unfortunately, water isn’t the only way you can get exposed to PFAS. These forever chemicals can also make their way into your body through eating food cooked in non-stick cookware or from the dust within your own home.

Even worse, PFAS have invaded the food chain. Research shows that food wrappers used in take-out or fast-food packaging have PFAS, meaning you get a dose of toxic chemicals with every bite (8).

The Alarming Health Effects of PFAS

PFAS chemicals are readily absorbed by your gut. And when they get in the bloodstream, they stick around for a very long time. Some of these toxins are shown to stay in the body for up to 15 years before they are excreted (9).

Reports published by the National Center for Environmental Health have also found PFAS in samples of human blood, urine, breast milk and even in umbilical cord blood (10). This means these chemicals are, without a doubt, making their way from the environment into humans.

Once these chemicals make their way into your system, they can cause a great deal of harm (11). Scientists have found that exposure to PFAS is linked to:

How Can You Minimize the Risks from PFAS?

It’s clear that PFAS are bad news. To make matters worse, it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid exposure. But there are steps you take to minimize the risks from PFAS and support your body’s detoxification efforts.

Avoid exposure to PFAS by ditching non-stick cookware, avoiding packaged food when possible, using an air filter in your home, and opting for organic cleaning products since standard cleaning chemicals can contain PFAS as well.

Since one of the most likely exposure points is drinking water, avoid bottled water when possible, and drink water that has been filtered. The most effective filtration system to remove PFAS is reverse osmosis, but that can be expensive. The next most effective system is an activated carbon filter (14).

Activated carbon filters work through adsorption. Basically, the PFAS stick to the surface of the activated carbon and are therefore filtered out.

Detoxifying with Natural Zeolite

Much in the same way that activated carbon filters out PFAS in water, natural mineral zeolite can act as a filter for toxins in the body. The natural zeolite Clinoptilolite is a powerful yet gentle detoxifier for long-term daily use.

A natural mineral formed from volcanic deposits, zeolites have long been used for their ability to attract and trap toxins. When cleansed and nanosized for optimal absorption, this zeolite can detoxify the body to a cellular level.

Zeolite detoxifies the body in two key ways. As a negatively-charged mineral, it works through cationic exchange. Like a magnet, it attracts positively-charged toxins and holds them within its crystalline structure. It also works via adsorption, where toxins stick to the outside of the zeolite, before passing through the body.

While studies are limited, evidence suggests that zeolite adsorbs PFAS, working to remove toxic chemicals from aqueous solutions (1516). Long renowned for its ability to remove heavy metals, zeolite may also be a safe and simple way to potentially reduce your exposure to PFAS.

Given that PFAS lingers in the body for years, and has known damaging health effects, it’s vital to reduce your exposure to these toxic chemicals. Seek out information from your local water supply and reduce exposure through using a water filter and avoiding PFAS-laced food packaging. Adding nanosized natural zeolite is another way to help reduce your body’s toxic burden and optimize your well-bein

CBD Oil’s Stunning Impact on Your Brain

CBD oil is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplements in the world. To date, hundreds of scientific studies have looked at the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) oil. Research has consistently found that CBD oil soothes the effects of temporary inflammation, combats stress, eases joint discomfort, and even promotes a healthy heart.  

But the benefits don’t end there. Scientists have recently discovered that CBD can cross the blood-brain barrier(1). What does this mean for your brain?

CBD oil has the ability to directly impact the health of your brain. Most compounds are limited in their benefit because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, CBD has huge potential for enhancing the function of your brain. There are five specific ways CBD can benefit your brain.

5 Ways CBD Oil Benefits the Brain

CBD Enhances Neurogenesis

For decades, neuroscientists believed that once you reached adulthood, the brain stopped making new brain cells. But new research has proven them wrong (2).

Your brain is capable of producing new cells throughout your life in a process called neurogenesis (3). This process is critical for maintaining a healthy brain, learning, memory, and preventing diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s (4).  

The challenge is that neurogenesis slows down as you grow older (5). Eventually this creates a deficit in new brain cells and compromises the function of your mind. In certain cases, this is the reason why some people experience cognitive decline in their old age.  

The good news is, animal studies suggests that CBD can stimulate neurogenesis by increasing the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF (6).

In addition to stimulating the production of new, healthy brain cells, CBD may also prevent the decline of neurogenesis caused by stress (7). Due to these effects, taking CBD oil could help keep your mind young, quick, and healthy.

CBD Protects Your Brain

One of the ways CBD produces its beneficial effects is by delaying the reuptake of the neurotransmitters anandamide and adenosine (8). This, in turn, increases the amount of anandamide and adenosine in the brain.

Scientists believe that the elevation of these neurotransmitters results in a neuroprotective effect (1). In other words, CBD could protect the brain from harm. What kind of harm?

Your body and brain are constantly under attack from environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, and oxidative stress. All of which can result in damaged nerve cells that can compromise the function of your brain. Substances with a neuroprotective effect like CBD can negate this damage to help keep your brain healthy and strong.

CBD Alleviates Stress

Chronic stress is a sworn enemy of a healthy functioning brain. Stress impairs your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and can also increase forgetfulness (910). Studies have also found that chronic stress increases the risk of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety (11).

So, if you want your brain to function at an optimal state, managing your stress levels will make all the difference. A growing body of research suggests that CBD is one of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate stress.

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and medical scientist, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system (12). This system plays a critical role in your ability to cope with stress (13).

When the endocannabinoid system is underactive, you’re more likely to experience high levels of stress (14). But when it’s stimulated with CBD oil, the opposite effect can occur—you become more resistant to the effects of stress.

This would explain why CBD oil supplementation is shown to decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in people who experience high amounts of stress (15).  

CBD Can Improve Your Mood

By altering the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, CBD can elevate your mood to new heights. One way which CBD can lift your spirits is through its ability to manage your stress levels (as explained above).

Think back on the last time stress got the best of you. How was your mood? When you get stressed to the point of being overwhelmed, it sabotages your happiness and replaces it with anger, frustration, or hopelessness. So, when stress is kept at bay with CBD oil, you can expect to have a more stable mood.

Animal research has also shown that CBD can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain (16). Serotonin is called the “happy chemical” due to the fact that it significantly impacts your mood, overall sense of well-being, learning, and several other feel-good sensations (17).

CBD May Ease Neuroinflammation

Neuroinflammation, as the name implies, occurs when your nervous system or brain becomes inflamed. In small doses, neuroinflammation is helpful for encouraging tissue repair and fighting pathogens.

But when neuroinflammation becomes constant, issues arise. It can damage or kill brain cells, accelerate brain aging, and compromise how well your brain functions with basic tasks (1819).

One scientific review of over 110 studies, for example, noted that CBD may help by increasing the amount of anandamide in the brain (20). Another animal-based study found CBD can help to reduce neuroinflammation after a stroke (21).

The Bottom Line

CBD oil is becoming one of the world’s most popular wellness supplements. Scientific studies have discovered that CBD has a wide variety of beneficial effects. This explains why so many people swear by CBD oil for easing joint discomfort, muscle aches, and temporary inflammation.

But the benefits go well beyond these common uses. Most people don’t realize CBD oil has a powerful effect on your brain as well. It protects your brain cells from damage, it encourages the regeneration of healthy brain tissue and enhances your mood. In doing so, CBD oil can help you become the best version of yourself by unlocking your true biological potential.

The Most Important Vitamin for Breast Cancer Prevention

Woman getting vitamin D from sun for breast cancer prevention

Breast cancer is a merciless disease that knows no bounds. It afflicts mothers, daughters, sisters, and best friends. In fact, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women worldwide. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that 1 in every 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lifetime (1).

With decades of research, scientists have identified common risk factors for breast cancer, including excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, a lack of physical exercise, and obesity (2).

But emerging evidence suggests that a lack or deficiency of one particular vitamin is a critically important risk factor. That means there’s a simple method you can use that may decrease the risk of breast cancer, and increase your chance of survival.

The Low Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Connection

Research suggests that women who have low levels of vitamin D have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer (3). In ways that are not fully understood, having a higher blood level of vitamin D is protective against breast cancer.

Studies show that women with the highest levels of vitamin D (> or equal to 60 ng/ml) had an 80% lower risk of breast cancer than women with the lowest levels of vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) (4). These studies even adjusted for age, weight and smoking status and still found this remarkable reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer.

Why is it so vital? Vitamin D regulates the transcription of more than 60 different genes, which have antiproliferative, prodifferentiating, antimetastatic, and proapoptotic effects on cells (3). In other words, vitamin D controls genes that play a pivotal role in preventing the growth of cancer.

Due to vitamin D’s unique effect on genes, vitamin D deficiencies are also linked to increased risk of several other forms of cancer, including colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers (5).

The Link between Vitamin D and Survival Outcomes

Vitamin D doesn’t just play a role in reducing risk, it may also increase the likelihood of surviving breast cancer.

In a study published in Anticancer Research, researchers reviewed five studies covering 4,400 women with breast cancer. They discovered that women with high levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to survive as women with low levels of vitamin D (6).

The research team went so far as to recommend that vitamin D should be added to the standard of care for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

And research on mice has shown that a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to metastasis—the spread of breast cancer (7). Yet another study found that women with low vitamin D levels were more likely to be diagnosed with triple-negative tumors, a type of breast cancer that is exceptionally difficult to treat (8).

As you can see, vitamin D can make a huge difference in the prevention and survival of breast cancer. So, it’s critical to get enough every day, especially since 40% of adults are estimated to be deficient in vitamin D (9).

How to Get Enough Vitamin D Every Day

Getting enough vitamin D is a no-brainer if you want to improve your overall quality of life and reduce your risk of many types of disease.

There are a few ways to ensure your body is getting the vitamin D it needs. The most effective method is to have your body naturally produce vitamin D through direct sun exposure.

Note the emphasis on direct sun exposure. Your body won’t make vitamin D if you’re sunbathing in the office or during your morning commute—sun exposure through windows doesn’t count.

And it’s not enough to be outside. You are unlikely to make vitamin D from exposure to your face. The best chance is for direct sun-to-skin exposure on your torso, arms or legs. If you have a light complexion, about 10 to 15 minutes a day in midday sun during summer months will do the trick.

However, if you live in northern latitudes, it becomes practically impossible to make vitamin D from sun exposure from about November to March—even on a sunny day—because of the angle of the sun to the Earth. That’s where supplementing with vitamin D-rich foods becomes a must.

Superfood Source for Vitamin D

Unfortunately, most vitamin D supplements contain cholecalciferol, which is typically sourced from irradiated lamb’s wool. This isolate is rarely blended with the co-factor nutrients needed for absorption. That means most vitamin D supplements are low-quality and poorly used in the body.

The best type of vitamin D supplement comes from the only plant that can make vitamin D the way humans do, from the sun. Mushrooms that are exposed to the sun produce and retain high levels of vitamin D.

When you combine vitamin D from mushrooms with probiotics and mineral-rich greens, it helps improve the absorption of the vitamin D, so your body can make the most of every nutrient.

If you’re on a plant-based diet, eat more mushrooms like maitake, portobello, and chanterelle. If you’re not on a plant-based diet, consider eating more eggs, organic dairy (in moderation) and wild fatty fish for extra vitamin D.

The Bottom Line

New evidence is emerging to suggest that vitamin D plays a critical role in the prevention and survival of breast cancer. And being deficient in vitamin D can greatly worsen the outcome of breast cancer.

Studies have found that it’s possible to reduce the risk of breast cancer through diet and lifestyle factors. And now, the simple step of getting enough vitamin D may reduce the risk of breast cancer even further.

But, as you may have noticed, there aren’t many sources of food-based vitamin D. That’s why food often isn’t enough and supplementing may be the best option. Because getting enough vitamin D should be part of your daily routine year-round due to its life-changing impact.

20 MINUTE BODY

No more worrying about finding time to go to the gym or even finding 30 minutes in your hectic day. With his approach, you’ll sweat, you’ll get excited, and you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll see with just 20 minutes a day. That’s the same time it takes to read one chapter of your favorite book.

20 Minute Body is more than just workouts, but mind over body and finding your fitness from within. Learn more about all the workouts included in the 20 Minute Body.

20MB Trilogy Product Image
  • HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training workouts are shorter, more challenging, and unleash a host of fat burning hormonal changes from the inside out that allows you to cut your training time in half.
  • Zero to 60: By combining HIIT workouts with Functional Training (FT) and Cardio-Strength Training (CST) exercises, your body can safely progress from zero to 60 without injury or too much muscle soreness which are two of the main reasons why people quit training.
  • The “Afterburn” Effect: The more you push your nervous system in short, timed intervals, the more energy or calories your body has to burn to come back to a normal state of equilibrium and rest. The scientific principle behind this concept is called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which creates an Afterburn effect where your body and metabolism are literally burning more calories for hours after a workout to return to a state of rest.
  • Go Lean, Go Green, Go Clean: Proper nutrition that you actually enjoy and will cook, is more than half the challenge when getting in-shape. The program includes delicious 20 minute recipes and healthy nutrition tips that will help you go lean, green and clean.
  • No Gym Necessary: With either your own bodyweight or minimal equipment, you can do the workouts at home or on the road…no gym, no excuses.
  • Five Moves To Fit: Each workout has an average of five Big-Bang exercises, which use multiple muscles and burn the most amount of calories. These exercises are divided into Strength, Cardio or Core and Brett has also added a little Brazilian flare by adding some moves from the Brazilian martial art/dance capoeira. The moves are easy to learn, fun and sequenced in a specific order to optimize fat loss.