What Every Chocolate Lover Needs to Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

You might consider chocolate a guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be. The type of chocolate you eat determines whether the chocolate is good or bad for you.

Many Americans have never eaten “true” chocolate. Most chocolate found in the supermarket or in specialty candy stores is processed and harmful for your body. Do not be fooled by price. I have seen many brands of expensive chocolate that are highly processed and loaded with toxic ingredients.

You can find processed chocolate in all sorts of candy, cakes and muffins, ice cream, cookies and more. When chocolate is processed with high temperatures and high pressure, it loses its health benefits. Processed chocolate is also loaded with sugar, oils and dairy that reverses any benefit the chocolate originally had and makes it highly addictive. I never recommend conventional chocolate.

The good news is there is a form of chocolate that is very good for you.

Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. The cacao bean is considered a superfood because of its rich antioxidant content. If the natural properties of the cacao bean are still intact in your chocolate, you can experience a wealth of benefits.

  • Cacao is rich in flavanols, powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from disease-causing free radicals.
  • The potent antioxidant content in cacao helps maintain healthy brain function.
  • Cacao can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cacao has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
  • Studies show cacao can improve insulin resistance.
  • A recent study shows eating an ounce and a half of cacao-rich chocolate every day for two weeks lowers stress hormone levels. Study participants placed in the “high anxiety” group also reported feeling less anxious after eating the chocolate.
  • Cacao is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Choosing the Right Chocolate

To ensure you are treating yourself to the right kind of chocolate, look for a cacao content of 60% or more. It will usually specify the cacao percentage on the label. The sugar content should be very low (somewhere around 4 grams). It should be organic and contain no dairy ingredients. One to three ounces per day is okay. More than that can add unwanted calories to your diet.

Like the many who eat chocolate in its natural form, I hope you find it to be decadent and satisfying.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/03/06/can-chocolate-benefit-your-brain.aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/03/23/chocolate-part-three.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/Dark-Chocolate-The-New-Antianxiety-Drug.aspx

http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2010/0402_Eating-More-Chocolate-Associated-with-Fewer-Cardiovascular-Events.htm?source=search&key=chocolate

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Superfoods for Your Heart

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

When compared to other countries, Americans have significantly more heart disease and for one reason alone: the toxic state of the Standard American Diet. What you eat is the single most important factor when it comes to your health. While God created many foods to nourish and protect our bodies, a few stand out when it comes to heart health.

Pomegranate – One of the most amazing foods when it comes to helping protect the heart is the pomegranate. The pomegranate has unique properties allowing it to help protect the inner walls of the arteries from damage. More and more research is showing pomegranate may even have the ability to reverse atherosclerosis. I recommend 2 ounces of quality pomegranate juice per day. Supplements are also available.

Blueberries – When it comes to harnessing the power of antioxidants, blueberries rank number one when compared to other fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals that can lead to numerous diseases including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Specific to the heart, the antioxidants in blueberries work to help reduce your cholesterol, decreasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. I recommend a cup of organic fresh or frozen blueberries every day.

Salmon – Oily fish like salmon contain beneficial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, or “good fat.” Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your level of triglycerides. Triglycerides are “bad fats” in the blood increasing your risk of heart disease. Omega-3s also help keep the blood thin, reducing the risk of clots from sticking to arterial walls, a primary cause of fatal heart attacks. Omega-3’s also help reduce the occurrence of dangerous heart arrhythmias.

The American Heart Association recommends eating 3 to 6 ounces of oily fish at least twice per week. I recommend a good fish oil supplement as well. When it comes to fish and fish oil, it is very important to make sure it is clean. Cold water, wild fish and fish oils are less likely to contain harmful doses of antibiotics and toxic mercury. Steer away from farmed fish.

Spinach – Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, swiss chard and collards offer high levels of heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Similar to in blueberries, these nutrients help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Spinach, in particular, is also high in folate. Folate helps reduce homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body usually as a byproduct from consuming meat. When homocysteine is present in high levels in the blood it is associated with hardening and narrowing of the arteries, increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots. I recommend at least one cup a day of dark, leafy green vegetables.

Walnuts – While nuts in general are a beneficial part of a healthy diet, walnuts contain almost twice the antioxidants as other nuts. Walnuts also contain high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is associated with lower risk of heart attacks and blood clots. Nutrients in walnuts are also known for their vascular reactivity, or the ability of blood vessels to respond positively to changes in the environment.

Other heart-healthy superfoods deserving honorable mention include black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, citrus fruits, oatmeal, cinnamon, green tea, flaxseed.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm?source=search&key=pomegranate

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/aug2011_Walnuts-A-Wealth-of-Health-Found-in-Walnuts_01.htm?source=search&key=walnuts

No-Cook Herb Marinara Sauce

by Dr. Don Colbert
Adapted from What Would Jesus Eat? by Dr. Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Add one can of organic low-salt tomato sauce to:

  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

The sauce does not need to be cooked. Enjoy the benefits of raw garlic, onion and herbs. Serve over wild salmon for a heart-healthy meal, or over brown rice noodles. Organic ingredients are preferred.

Read about the benefits of marinara sauce here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/394604-is-marinara-sauce-good-for-you/

Do You Suffer from Hormone Horror?

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Beginning at age 35 (yes, 35!), many women begin to experience symptoms of hormone imbalance. Progesterone is the first hormone that starts to decline. The first and most notable symptoms of declining progesterone are usually anxiety, mood swings, irritability and depression. These can be followed by insomnia, decreased libido, hair loss, bone loss and a decrease in HDL, or ” good” cholesterol. Between the ages of 45 and 50, the hormone estrogen begins to decline accentuating the symptoms described above and bringing more symptoms including night sweats, hot flashes, thinning skin, more wrinkles and frequent urinary tract infections.

Most women yearn for relief from this portfolio of unpleasant symptoms, so they visit their doctor and are often prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of their hormone imbalance. They are given something like Prozac for depression, sleeping pills for insomnia, or something like Xanax for anxiety. But the root cause — the hormone imbalance — is never treated, and the side effects from the toxic pharmaceutical drugs begin leading to other problems.

In other cases, the doctor might prescribe conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but many women are fearful of HRT because the media has done a good job of exposing studies showing conventional HRT can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.

So what’s the answer?
If you listened to one of my recent radio shows (Dr. Colbert’s Health Report), you might already know the answer. The answer is bioidentical hormones.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is the natural form of hormone replacement. Unlike synthetic hormones like Premarin and Prempro, bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones your body produces itself. Premarin, often prescribed for women with symptoms of low estrogen, is sourced from a pregnant mare’s (horse’s) urine. So while it may seem “natural,” it is not accepted by your body as if it were your own estrogen. Premarin has also been shown to elevate blood pressure and triglycerides, increase belly fat and cause gall stones. Bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, help restore physical and mental decline associated with hormone imbalance. They treat the root cause of the problem, thereby eliminating the symptoms. Estriol, a bioidentical hormone, has even been shown to help protect against breast cancer and is being given to breast cancer patients in Europe.

Are Bioidentical Hormones Just for Women?

Definitely not. Have you heard of “grumpy old man syndrome?” As some men age, they tend to develop a shorter fuse, hot temper and overall grumpy demeanor. This could be an indication of low testosterone. Symptoms of low testosterone include irritability, anger, loss of vitality, loss of competitiveness, decreased memory, depression, night sweats and hot flashes, increased abdominal fat and reduced muscle mass.

A decline in testosterone is usually associated with aging and occurs in both men and women. It is also interesting to note that statin drugs lower testosterone. Since one in four Americans over age 45 is on statin drugs, it is certainly not uncommon to find low levels of testosterone.

When testosterone remains imbalanced, it can lead to other problems like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and osteoporosis. It is important to find a doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormone therapy. The first thing your doctor should do is check all your current hormone levels. Women should start screening hormone levels at age 35. Men can start later unless symptoms are present.

Your doctor should also screen for cancer. Bioidentical hormones do not cause cancer. In some cases, like I said before, they actually help protect against cancer. However, if the person already has cancer, starting on bioidentical hormones might not be the best course of action.

Spring Cleaning Dos and Don’ts You Might Not Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Do clean the air. Indoor air has been shown to carry 25-100 times more pollutants than outdoor air. While many Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, it is very important to make sure the air indoors is free of allergens and harmful compounds. One of the best and simplest ways to improve the air quality in your home is by using houseplants. NASA has studied the effect of houseplants on indoor air quality and reports plants reduce up to 87% of air toxins. Some of the top air-improving houseplants are African violets, Christmas cactus, the Feston Rose plant, English ivy and aloe.

Don’t use synthetic lawn chemicals. The toxins you use to treat your lawn will make their way into your home through windows and doors and on the soles of your shoes. Always remove your shoes at the door.

Do use natural cleaners like sea salt, lemon juice, essential oils and vinegar. Use a sea salt and olive oil scrub to remove stains on cast iron cookware. To clean and disinfect a cutting board, squeeze a lemon onto the surface and let it sit overnight. Wash the lemon away the next day. Vinegar is a powerful antifungal for bathroom mold and mildew. An ounce and a half of eucalyptus oil combined with a quart of water makes a disinfecting cleaner for toilets and bathroom counters.

Do use rubber gloves, even with natural products. Sea salt, vinegar and lemon can still be rough on your hands.

Don’t use conventional laundry detergents, soaps and bathroom cleaners. Even when rinsed well, toxic chemical residues are left behind and can be absorbed by the body through the skin and airways. Many of these chemicals have been shown to promote reproductive problems, endocrine and autoimmune disorders and cancer.

Don’t use air fresheners. The cleanest and safest odor is no odor at all. The perfumes and scents you associate with clean laundry, a clean body and a germ-free home are oftentimes toxic.

Do reduce allergens. Switch to allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers. Switch to hard surface floors like tile and hardwood. Remove curtains and use easy-to-dust blinds for window coverings.

Do plant a garden. Eating fresh whole foods is the best way to “spring clean” your body. If you are a new gardener, start with a small patch. Lettuces, herbs and tomatoes are easiest to grow for beginners.

Don’t use conventional pesticides and herbicides in your garden. They leave toxic residues on your food, and dangerous chemicals from fertilizer can get soaked up into the food through the roots. Use an organic gardening book or look online to find simple, safe and natural ways to protect your garden from bugs.

Allergy & Asthma Secrets Your Pharmacist Doesn’t Want You To Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

If you are one of the millions of people affected by seasonal allergies and asthma, it’s usually best to try natural treatments for your allergies before employing harsh medications.

Local Honey

You’ve probably heard about taking a teaspoon a day of local, raw unfiltered honey for your allergies. Studies show this can be very effective if you start taking the honey a few months before allergy season. This allows your body to build immunity to the pollens in the honey through gradual exposure.

Vitamin D

Studies show 50-78% of the general population has lower than optimal levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a bigger role in the body than just bone health. Vitamin D also boosts immunity and helps your body fight infection. It also supports cell growth, neuromuscular function, and reduction of inflammation, thereby reducing your risk of major diseases. Some researchers believe Vitamin D deficiency is a primary contributing factor to asthma.

Butterbur Extract

Studies show butterbur extract can be just as effective in treating allergies as leading allergy drugs, without the common drug side effects like drowsiness, heart palpitations, and fatigue. Butterbur is a common hay fever treatment in Europe to reduce the effects of histamine and nasal congestion and to improve breathing difficulty associated with allergies. You can find butterbur at your local health food store. Commercial butterbur is free of harmful substances that occur in the raw herb. Important note: Butterbur is of the ragweed family, so if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisy, or chrysanthemum, you should not use butterbur.

More Natural Help for Allergies and Asthma

  • Make sure you’re getting proper amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like fish oil, walnuts and flaxseed.
  • Reduce your intake of omega-6 fatty acids found in many processed foods containing vegetable oils like corn, canola, soy and safflower.
  • Exercise. People who do not exercise regularly have higher rates of allergies and asthma.
  • Acupuncture can be highly effective in treating allergies.
  • Avoid pasteurized milk products if you have asthma and allergies. They have been shown to make symptoms worse.
  • Allergy-proof your home by using allergen-free pillows and mattress covers. Replace carpet with hard-surface flooring, and use window coverings you can dust, like blinds, instead and of curtains.
  • Eucalyptus oil can help clear nasal passages. Place a few drops in bathwater or in a steaming pot and breathe the vapors.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water.

Benefits of Living Omega 3 from Dr. Colbert

Living Omega is a totally natural source of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), concentrated from cold water fish oil.

• Cardiovascular Health Including Blood Pressure, Lipids and Clotting
• Reducing Inflammation of Joints, Skin, Other
• Reducing Back and Neck Pain
• Support for Mental Health/Behavior
• Support for the Reduction of Allergic-type Response
Glucose and Insulin Homeostasis