Bon Voyage! Tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.

Traveling this holiday season? Or just a frequent flyer? The following tips will help you stay healthy while you are away from home:

1.Probiotics can prevent traveler’s diarrhoea! Many studies show that probiotics are able to effectively prevent traveler’s diarrhoea. The particular formula is a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum along with the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. If you want to protect yourself from digestive/ intestinal illness, take a probiotic supplement containing the above strains. Taking a probiotic can also support your immune system and help with regular bowel movements.

2. Keep hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water throughout your trip. Minimize caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they are dehydrating.

3. Stock up on antioxidant supplements, glutathione in particular if you are flying. Glutathione is a vital antioxidant involved in protecting the body from free radical damage and helps to “recycle” other important antioxidants. Flying exposes us to more radiation (long-term exposure of which could increase risk of cancers and degenerative diseases) as we are at a higher altitude. A paper from the American Journal of Epidemiology found a higher incidence of acute myeloid leukemia among 2740 Air Canada pilots compared with the general population. The paper concluded that “monitoring of in-flight radiation exposure and long-term follow-up of civil aviation crew members is needed to further assess cancer incidence and leukemia risk in this special occupational group” (Am J Epidemiol 1996;143:137–43). Reduce the harmful effects of radiation (and stress!) while flying by ensuring adequate antioxidant support.

4. Airline “snack boxes” available on shorter flights are usually high in fat and/or sodium and filled with refined carbohydrates. Try to eat a healthier meal before a short flight to avoid hunger on the plane. If you do get hungry, check out #5. Remember to keep hydrated.

5. Healthy snack alternatives you can pack for your flight:

  • nuts or pre-made trail mix
  • fresh fruits like apples, oranges, avocado, etc.
  • carrot or celery sticks
  • dried or freeze-dried fruit and vegetables e.g. dried mango, okra chips, freeze-dried strawberries, etc.
  • homemade meat jerky
  • snack bars such as Larabar, Made Good, etc.

6. For long-haul flights, noodle soup cups are very popular “mini-meals”. Unfortunately, these are laden with MSG and other additives, and carry next-to-zero nutritional value. Usually, flights will offer a veggie sandwich alternative which is a healthier choice. If you must have the noodle soup cups, try to avoid the high-sodium and high-MSG broth.

7. Wear loose clothing and stretch regularly when flying. Stretch your legs/ feet and get up for regular walks to reduce the risk of forming blood clots.

 

SOURCE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17298915

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How to protect your memory and brain health

Whether you want to sharpen your memory or prevent cognitive decline, the following tips will help keep your brain healthy and functioning optimally:

  1. Challenge your brain. Work, read, do a crossword puzzle or solve Sudoku. Play bridge or mahjong with a group, or challenge a friend to a game of chess. If you are on your own, try digital puzzle games such as Two Dots or Bubble Game. You can also try memorizing key phone numbers instead of relying on your cell phone all the time.
  2. Get enough sleep! Sleep plays a vital role in brain function and helps you consolidate your memories. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night, seek a healthcare practitioner who will address the cause and not just give you a quick fix. Sleeping pills can compromise cognitive function. Click here to read more on how to get a good night’s rest.
  3. Exercise regularly. According to Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of Harvard Health Letter, “exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.” According to a study done at the University of British Columbia, regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Interestingly, resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not yield the same results. “… Engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. Regular exercise can reduce insulin resistance as well as inflammation, both of which have been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying active also improves mood and sleep while reducing stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas commonly cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.
  4. Invest in healthy relationships and stay connected. Look for opportunities to gather with loved ones and friends, especially if you live alone.
    Loneliness is tied to an increased risk of developing dementia. In a recent study of 12,030 older adults, the researchers found that loneliness (how lonely one felt, rather than the amount of social contact with others) was associated with a 40% higher risk of developing dementia. A person can be surrounded by people and have many social contacts but still feel lonely.
  5. If you are experiencing memory loss, mental decline or cognitive impairment, find a healthcare practitioner who will work with you in addressing your concerns. According to Dr. Dale Bredesen, professor of neurology at University of California, Los Angeles, Alzheimer’s disease is a result of what happens when the brain tries to protect itself from inflammation (from infection, diet, stress, etc), a shortage or decline of supportive nutrients and hormones and/ or toxic substances such as metals or moulds. attractive beautiful beauty black and whiteHe suggests testing for insulin resistance, certain nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, heavy metal toxicity, food sensitivities/ intolerances and genetic status particularly for APO E4*, all of which are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Bredesen believes that by correcting and rebalancing these factors, the cognitive decline of early Alzheimer’s can be prevented and even reversed in some cases. Dr. Ardyce Yik offers such testing in her clinic.

*Genetics may affect your risk for Alzheimer’s disease but it doesn’t mean you will necessarily have the condition. Increasing evidence is showing that environmental and lifestyle factors (i.e. epigenetic changes) can affect whether that gene is turned “on” or “off”. You are in control of your own fate much more than you realize.

SOURCE:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geronb/gby112/5133324?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Bredesen, D. (2017) The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Programme to Prevent and Reverse the Cognitive Decline of Dementia. UK: Penguin Random House.

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How much alcohol is too much?

Alcohol is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world. Do you drink? You may be a social drinker or you may drink every day. Perhaps you drink a glass of wine once a month or you finish a whole bottle in one evening. But have you ever stopped and wondered, how much alcohol is too much?

A recent worldwide study of alcohol use and its impact on our health concludes that the safest level of alcohol consumption is none. According to the researchers of the study, published in the journal The Lancet last month, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. Any protective health effects of alcohol are offset by the risks.

In fact, this comprehensive study notes that in 2016, alcohol use was the main cause of death and disability for people aged 15 to 49, accounting for 12 percent of deaths in men of that age. It was also the 7th leading risk factor for early death.

Many of us are aware that drinking alcohol in high doses can lead to acute harm (e.g. accidents or violence to oneself or others), intoxication, cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure and even death. But what about moderate drinking, i.e. one drink a day for women and two for men? Well, it turns out that long term use (cumulative consumption) of alcohol increases the risk of a wide range of illnesses, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • stroke
  • breast cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer as well as cancers of the mouth and throat
  • depression (which may lead to suicide)
  • gastritis, gastric ulcers
  • liver cirrhosis
  • alcoholism, alcohol addiction

Excessive alcohol use is also associated with a variety of serious social issues, including domestic violence, child neglect/ abuse and absenteeism in the workplace.

So, now what? What does this study have to do with me?

Well, that depends.

If you drink fairly infrequently, once in a while at social gatherings, on your birthday or Christmas, then these findings may not be relevant to you, as the study focuses more on people who drink at least one drink once a day. If you choose to drink alcohol, know the risks and drink responsibly.

If you have one or more drinks every day, take heed. The risk of illness increases rapidly the more you drink. For people who consume 2 drinks a day, the risk of developing one of the 23 alcohol-related health problems increases by 7% over one year. For those who drink 5 drinks a day, the risk increases by 37% over one year.

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Dr. Yik has seen her share of patients struggling with alcoholism- teenagers, professionals, fathers, mothers… Yes, even mothers! Healthcare professionals and addiction counsellors are seeing an increase in mothers seeking help for alcohol problems. This may be due to the current mommy drinking culture, which is vehemently reinforced by social media and advertising.

Seek a trusted doctor if you suspect you have a drinking problem. Symptoms include a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink, the urge to drink when feeling stressed or anxious, the need to drink more to achieve the same effects and/ or becoming more irritable and tired while being intoxicated more frequently.

If you do not drink alcohol, the advice from the researchers (as well as the American Heart Association) is clear: do NOT start drinking.

 

SOURCE:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext

https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/healthtopics/content/25/8798.html

http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/alcohol-and-heart-health

Glaser, Gabrielle. Her Best Kept Secret: Why Women Drink- and How They Can Regain Control. 

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Why am I losing so much hair?

pexels-photo-9734011.jpeg

Thick, voluminous hair is viewed as a sign of vitality and youthfulness. But what happens when your hair starts to thin? Or worse- when others notice and comment on your hair loss? Your hair doesn’t just affect your looks- it’s often an indicator of your health as well. Sometimes noticeable hair loss is due to nutrient deficiencies. Other times, it may be a sign of a more serious condition.  Discover what could be causing your hair loss and how to prevent it:

  1. Check your nutrient/ vitamin levels. Inadequate protein consumption and low iron is a common cause of hair thinning. Besides protein and iron, other vital nutrients that support a healthy hair and scalp include silica, biotin, zinc, folate, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Many people think they eat a healthy, well balanced diet when in fact, certain key nutrients may be missing or they may have digestive issues which prevent their bodies from absorbing nutrients. Moreover, studies show that people on certain diets or diet plans are more likely to be deficient in micronutrients, while others may simply not know how to eat a nutritiously balanced diet. If you are wondering about your nutrient status, talk to your doctor about testing for nutrient levels (for iron, remember to check for ferritin levels). Looking for a hair-boosting supplement? Consult a licensed naturopathic doctor on proper dosages of these nutraceuticals- the amount found in multivitamins are generally not enough for therapeutic effects.
  2. Could it be a medical condition? pexels-photo-883441.jpegCould your hair loss be the result of a scalp infection like ringworm? Could it be a thyroid imbalance such as hypothyroidism (a condition in which you may also feel sluggish/ tired and have unexplained weight gain)? Other causes of hair loss include PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), iron-deficiency anemia and autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata or SLE (lupus).
  3. Is it the drug you’re taking?  Certain pharmaceutical medications may also cause hair loss or balding as a side effect. These include Accutane (isotretinoin), Naproxen, Zantac (ranitidine) and drugs used to treat heart problems, cancer, hormone-related issues and depression.
  4. Another culprit may be environmental toxins. Ongoing exposure to heavy metals such as mercury may result in hair loss which becomes gradually more apparent. Toxins in our environment cause hair loss by disrupting basic cellular functions in the body, thereby interfering with hormone production and regulation, as well as other vital processes. Talk to your doctor if you want to get heavy metal testing done.
  5. As people age, hair generally thins out. Usually, it is more apparent as men enter andropause and as women enter menopause. Click here to read more about premature aging and how to prevent it.
  6. Temporary hair loss can occur after pregnancy, major surgery or sudden drastic weight loss. It may also occur after a period of extreme stress or as a result of hair-pulling (click here to read my case of the disappearing eyebrows).

If you notice your hair thinning, you should first rule out any underlying health conditions. Whether the culprit is a hormonal imbalance, medical condition or heavy toxic load, Dr. Yik can help you address the cause, not just the symptoms. If you recently underwent an intense period of stress, be sure to replenish your system using adaptogens and nutraceuticals to minimize the effects of stress on your body. Click here to learn more about stress and premature aging. And lastly, before reaching for Rogaine (minoxidil), Propecia (finasteride) or a wig, ensure that your body has all the building blocks for healthy, strong hair.

SOURCE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2905334/

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Unsafe levels of cancer-linked herbicide found in oatmeal and other breakfast foods

 

Instant oatmeal, granola bars and cereals are among foods tested and found to contain potentially harmful amounts of glyphosate, a herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization (Click here to read about chemical company Monsanto being ordered to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who got terminal cancer after using glyphosate-based Roundup, one of the world’s most popular weed killers).

The researchers in the study, conducted by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and released last week, found glyphosate in all but 5 of the 29 oat-based foods tested.

Potentially Dangerous to Children: 

Back to Nature Classic Granola

Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisin and Almonds

Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey

Giant Instant Oatmeal Original Flavor

Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal

Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal

Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan

Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream*

Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal

Lucky Charms (without marshmallows)

Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal

Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal*

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey

Quaker Steel Cut Oats

Quaker Old Fashioned Oats

Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats*

*This product underwent multiple tests and tested above the dangerous level in one or more and below the dangerous level in one or more.

SOURCES: https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/#.W3ob4y2B2L9; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/08/10/jury-orders-monsanto-pay-289-million-cancer-patient-roundup-lawsuit/962297002/

 

 

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What is hypothyroidism and how can it affect your fertility?

Hypothyroidism is a health condition in which your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones needed for metabolism and energy. Your metabolism affects your body’s temperature, your heartbeat and how well you burn calories. When you have hypothyroidism, you become tired and sluggish as your body processes slow down.

Also known as underactive thyroid disease, hypothyroidism can be detected by assessing the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. A high TSH level indicates hypothyroidism.

SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM

In mild or early cases of hypothyroidism, there may be no symptoms at all. In more severe cases, symptoms include:

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  • tiredness, sluggishness
  • an inability to tolerate cold temperatures
  • unexplained weight gain, difficulty losing weight
  • constipation
  • depression
  • dry hair, hair loss
  • swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter) which can cause tightness in the throat or difficulty swallowing food
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • carpal tunnel syndrome

In addition to these symptoms, Dr. Yik has found that some patients with hypothyroidism also suffer from acid reflux, anaemia, food allergies or intolerances (such as gluten), digestive or absorption issues as well as nutrient deficiencies.

CAUSES OF HYPOTHYROIDISM

doctor1One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland and symptoms similar to hypothyroidism. This immune disorder is diagnosed with blood tests that measure thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, T4, FT3, FT4) and antibodies (Anti-TPO, Anti-TG).  In practice, Dr. Yik has found a link between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Epstein Barr virus (mononucleosis) as well as Blastocystis hominis infections. Sometimes, patients’ health histories include contracting (or experiencing symptoms of) these infections shortly prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. Some aren’t even aware of having these pre-existing infections until Dr. Yik runs tests for them. For certain patients, thyroid condition and function return to normal after treating these Epstein Barr and Blastocystis hominis infections.

Other causes of hypothyroidism include surgical removal of the thyroid gland, irradiation of the thyroid gland and inflammatory conditions. Estrogen dominance (a hormonal imbalance) may also cause the liver to produce higher levels of thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG), which binds to thyroid hormone in circulation, thereby decreasing the amount of thyroid hormone which can be used by cells. In addition, Dr. Yik has found that for some patients with Hashimoto’s, thyroid antibodies return to normal when gluten is removed from the diet.

 

HOW DOES HYPOTHYROIDISM AFFECT FERTILITY IN WOMEN?

In women of reproductive age, hypothyroidism prevents ovulation from occurring regularly, which in turn causes a woman’s period to be less frequent (oligomenorrhoea) or to stop completely (amenorrhea). You need to ovulate in order to get pregnant. Hypothyroidism also affects fertility by causing elevation in another hormone called prolactin, which stimulates milk production after childbirth. Elevated prolactin levels can cause infertility as well as milk discharge from breasts (galactorrhea). Women with hypothyroidism are also more likely to suffer from miscarriages.

doctor2If you have difficulty conceiving, get your thyroid hormones and antibodies checked. It is crucial to get treated for hypothyroidism in order to ensure that your body is functioning optimally. If you suffer from gut conditions (IBS, diarrhea, excessive gas, bloating, digestive issues, etc.), had a previous Epstein Barr infection or have other health concerns in addition to thyroid imbalances, seek a natural healthcare practitioner who is trained to help you address the root causes of your condition.

Dr. Yik helps numerous women conceive and give birth to healthy babies. Click here to read more about her Natural Fertility Enhancement program.

SOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29453792

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25931043

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20404456

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26230132

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20351855

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Early exposure to microbes may prevent childhood cancer

grass-3430359_1920It turns out that early exposure to common microbes (germs!) in newborns and babies helps to protect them against acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (aka A.L.L.), the most common form of childhood cancer, later on in life.

According to Professor Mel Greaves, a world-renowned leukaemia researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, there are 3 stages to developing this form of cancer. Children are more likely to develop A.L.L if:

  • Firstly, they have a genetic mutation that happens in the womb (before the child is born)
  • dogsSecondly, they live in germ-free environments and have little interaction with other children particularly in their first year of life. This lack of exposure to microbes prevents the immune system from learning how to deal with threats.
  • Later on in childhood, A.L.L. may be triggered when they get an infection that causes the immune system to malfunction. “The research strongly suggests that acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has a clear biological cause and is triggered by a variety of infections in predisposed children whose immune systems have not been properly primed,” explains Professor Greaves. He and his team also discovered a higher prevalence of A.L.L. in countries with higher socio-economic development and affluence.

The following evidence helped the researchers reach their conclusion:

  • Studies show that children who had older siblings or went to nursery/ play groups, which expose them to bacteria, had lower rates of leukaemia.
  • baby-21167_1920Breastfeeding, which promotes good bacteria in the gut, protects against leukaemia (click here to read other benefits of breastfeeding).
  • There are lower rates of leukaemia in children born vaginally than by Caesarean section, which transfers fewer microbes.
  • An outbreak of swine flu in Milan led to seven children getting leukaemia.
  • Animals bred completely free of microbes developed leukaemia when exposed to an infection.

Professor Greaves emphasizes that the study is not about blaming parents for being too hygienic. Rather, “the most important implication is that most cases of childhood leukaemia are likely to be preventable.”

water-863053_1920He suggests that parents can “be less fussy about common or trivial infections and encourage social contact with other and older children”. For those who want the extra “microbe” boost, Dr. Ardyce Yik ND suggests consuming more probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kim chi and tempeh. Supplementing with probiotics may also be beneficial. For newborns and babies, breastfeeding is encouraged.

Click here to learn more on how to support your immune system.

 

SOURCE: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41568-018-0015-6; http://www.bbc.com/news/health-44199844

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Tantrums? Refusal to listen? Anxiety? Help your child develop self-regulation.

pexels-photo-116151.jpegEven as adults, we sometimes struggle with managing our emotions and mood (just think of the last time you met someone who had road rage or was impatient- or the last time you irritably lost control…). And yet, as parents, we may find ourselves getting frustrated with our children when they fail to control themselves. Refusing to listen, becoming excessively anxious or moody, throwing temper tantrums- what lies at the heart of all this is self-regulation.

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability of a person to manage emotions, sensations, situations and distress- and to form appropriate responses that are socially acceptable and help to achieve positive goals such as learning, maintaining good relationships and well-being. Kids with good self-regulation skills are able to calm down (to return to a condition of stability or homeostasis), resist impulses, focus their attention and exert self-control. Simply stated, self-regulation is the ability to regulate emotions and control behaviour.

Why does self-regulation matter?

pexels-photo-322070.jpegStudies show that a child’s capacity to self-regulate largely determines how well they will perform at school and how they will be later in life. This important life skill is related to many positive outcomes, such as success in school and university, social economic status, health and relationship satisfaction. Kids (and adults) who can self-regulate are generally less anxious, less angry and less hostile toward others.

boy-1226964_1920A renowned study spanning over 4 decades, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, started tracking 1,037 children since their birth in 1972 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The study looked at self-regulation, particularly self-control, in childhood and found that children who scored low on such measures (e.g. becoming easily frustrated, lacking persistence in reaching goals or performing tasks, having difficulty waiting their turn in line, etc.) were roughly three times more likely to wind up as poor, addicted, single parents or to have multiple health problems as adults, compared with children who behaved less impulsively as early as age three. The study also revealed that children who had more self-control enjoyed more health and wealth in adulthood than others who had even a bit less self-control.

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“The early years are absolutely critical for how a person’s life turns out, and if you really want to make a difference to people’s lives, intervening early is key,” concludes Professor Richie Poulton, director of the study.

How can we help our child build self-regulation?

  1. pexels-photo-266011.jpegWhen infants are born, the development of self-regulation occurs within the context of the infant-caregiver relationship. Babies are completely dependent upon their parents or primary caregivers to identify and respond to their needs. As time passes, responding to babies’ needs in a responsive and consistent manner helps them to learn that the feelings of distress they have are not permanent. Not only will they learn that these feelings will pass but they also begin to develop within themselves the capacity to take care of their feelings and impulses, and to feel secure in knowing that their needs will be met.
  2. pexels-photo-296301.jpegWhen children are young, they learn how to self-regulate through play and games, so ensure plenty of free play time for them. Outdoor free play with peers (without adult interaction) is a great way to develop self-regulation. Hide-and-seek, a game of tag or ball games allow children to interact socially and to use their own coping mechanisms to problem-solve.
  3. Play games that require children to wait for directions before they act (e.g. Simon Says, What Time is it Mr. Wolf, etc.) or games that require taking turns (e.g board games).
  4. For older children, drama, art, team sports and music can help to build self-regulation. Encourage them to join a drama or art class, pick up a sport they enjoy, learn an instrument or join the junior orchestra.
  5. pexels-photo-573293.jpegIn order to remain in control in difficult situations, children need to have calming experiences. Practise deep breathing and ways to relax with your child, like spending time outdoors to appreciate nature or just talking things out. In Dr. Yik’s child’s kindergarten class, the children learned to calm themselves down when they were angry or upset by tracing their fingers of one hand with the other hand and doing “belly breathing”. See what works for your child and practise it together.
  6. woman-1807533_1920Parents, caregivers and teachers should model good self-regulation and self-control. Use a calm tone in stressful situations. Exert self-control when things get disruptive or when you are upset.
Remember, we are human. It’s absolutely natural to experience emotions and impulses, but how we manage them will ultimately determine how well we fare in life.
Is your child stressed or anxious? Click here to read more about stress and anxiety in today’s children. Click here to find out how Dr. Yik can help you and child attain optimal health.

 

SOURCES:

https://self-reg.ca/

Can People who lack Self-Regulation Skills still have Satisfying and Well-functioning Relationships?

https://dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz/

https://abilitypath.org/2014/06/11/self-regulation-through-relationships/

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Mediterranean diet may increase fertility and IVF success

pexels-photo-299352.jpegIt turns out that eating a Mediterranean diet is not only good for your heart and brain, but it may also boost fertility and IVF success. A recent study from Human Reproduction concluded that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet had significantly higher success rates of IVF compared to other women.

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Nikos Yiannakouris of Harokopio University of Athens, analyzed the dietary patterns of 244 women between ages 22 and 41 years, who were asked to complete food questionnaires based on their diet from the previous 6 months.

salmon-fish-grilled-fish-grill-730914.jpeg“The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby,” concluded Professor Yiannakouris, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens. He also added that a healthy Mediterranean diet can improve semen quality in men.

pexels-photo-793785.jpegSo, what is the Mediterranean diet? And how can we follow it to improve health and fertility?

  1. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish.
  2. Eat fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Eat lean meats, poultry, eggs and dairy in moderation.
  3. For women wanting to boost fertility and egg quality, Dr. Yik recommends they eat at least 5 portions of vegetables a day, 2 of which should be dark green in colour.
  4. Snack on nuts! Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc.- Grab a handful for a boost in fiber, protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants. Click here to read more about the benefits of nuts.
  5. Try replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil.
  6. Instead of using salt to flavour foods, try using herbs and spices.

Dr. Yik helps women balance hormones and boost fertility. Click here to read more about her Natural Fertility Enhancement program.

SOURCE: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/esoh-mdm012618.php

 

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Protect your health and strengthen your immune system, naturally

doctor2Between May and July 2017, more than 300 severe flu cases were reported by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection, compared with 50 in the same period last year. Experts say mutations in the influenza virus were to blame, meaning that that those who were vaccinated were not getting the protection they hoped for. Besides getting the vaccine, what else can we do to protect our health?

Your immune system protects you from infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that cause disease and even death. “The strength of your immune system is what determines who gets sick and who doesn’t,” explains Woodson Merrell, MD, director of integrative medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. We know that adequate sleep, regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking are essential to good health, but what more can we do to improve our immune system?

To get started, consider the following:

vegetables-752153_1920 (1)1) Are you deficient in micronutrients? Micronutrient deficiencies are associated with an impaired immune response and higher incidence of infection. Deficiencies can stem from reduced food intake (due to eating disorders, dieting, etc.), excessive consumption of junk/ processed food, an imbalanced diet or impaired/ weak digestion. Zinc, selenium, iron, vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and folic acid in particular help the immune system work properly.  To ensure you are getting adequate micronutrients, eat whole foods with adequate protein, good fats and a variety of vegetables and fruits. Include immune-boosting foods such as garlic, onions, ginger, dark green vegetables, shiitake/ maitake/ reishi mushrooms and berries in your diet. If you suspect you are deficient in certain nutrients, talk to your doctor and get tested.

2) How important is vitamin D? Researchers in Japan have found that besides getting the annual flu shot, vitamin D is also a potent flu-fighter. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements (1200 IU/day) with placebo in school-aged children, researchers found that the children receiving the sunshine vitamin had a 42% reduction in getting influenza A compared to those not receiving it. adult-1807500_1920The study also found that the group not getting the vitamin D had six times more asthma attacks. “Vitamin D helps your body produce a protein called cathelicidin that fights bacteria and viruses,” says Carlos Camargo, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Other studies show that people with adequate levels of vitamin D are less likely to get the flu, and when they do, they tend to recover faster compared to those who are deficient. In Dr. Yik’s practice, she finds that many adults and children in Hong Kong are deficient in vitamin D, regardless of how much sunshine they get. Before you start taking vitamin D supplements though, get your level checked so you can supplement at the correct dosage. Too much vitamin D puts you at a higher risk for kidney stones.

3) Choose the right type of probiotic. Most people know that probiotic supplementation can help maintain a strong immune system, but what you may not know is that different strains of probiotics treat different conditions, so it’s important to find the right type. A supplement with various probiotic strains including a high(er) amount of Lactobacillus rhamnosus is beneficial for boosting immunity.

4) Certain essential oils such as clove and eucalyptus have immune-enhancing properties. Some choose to diffuse it while others use direct or indirect inhalation. For topical use, always read the labels carefully and seek a certified aromatherapist if unsure.

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5) Recurrent infections- colds/ flu, ear infections, herpes/ cold sores, warts, etc.- may be pointing to a stressed system. Mental stress, deep sadness or anger will raise a hormone in our body called cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels will slow down the rate at which immune cells multiply. This leaves us deficient in infection-fighting cells, making us more vulnerable to attack by foreign invaders. Loneliness can also make you more prone to illness. “Lonely people often have high stress levels, which can have a negative effect on the immune system,” says Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University. While deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage and other stress-management techniques help to lower cortisol levels temporarily, nutraceuticals and adaptogens may be necessary to restore healthy cortisol levels and rebuild your system. Click here to learn more about unmanaged stress.

groupAlways remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and avoid touching your face/ nose/ mouth. If you are sick, seek medical attention. Dr. Ardyce Yik ND helps adults and children rebuild immunity, naturally. Click here to learn how she can help you achieve and maintain optimal health.

 

SOURCE:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2103878/how-worried-should-you-be-about-hong-kongs-unusual, https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/177984, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646211/, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3755751/

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