Hidden sugars in your (child’s) food

sugar-2263618_1920The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published new guidelines yesterday in the journal Pediatrics, stating that children under the age of one should not be given fruit juice, unless advised by their doctor. The AAP cites increasing obesity rates and risk for dental caries in children for the updated guidelines. Besides sugary juices, where else is sugar hidden in our foods?

  1. Yogurt. While a serving of plain Greek yogurt typically contains 4 grams of sugar, yogurt with added sugar (commonly found in kids’ varieties) can have up to 10 grams per serving. yogurt-1786329_1920.jpgWhat to eat instead: Buy plain Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt) and add fresh fruit for taste. Fresh fruit contains the pulp, fiber and nutrients of the whole fruit. And since the sugar in fruits is paired with fiber and water, it is released more slowly into your body, providing a steady stream of energy.  Click here to read more about the benefits of fruits and veggies.
  2. food-2202344_1920Commercial granola/ breakfast bars. These bars may look healthy, but sometimes they contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar! What to eat instead: Make your own granola bars or energy balls with whole rolled oats, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, chia seeds, toasted coconut flakes, etc. Or try munching on a handful of antioxidant-rich almonds or walnuts.
  3. Commercial breakfast cereals. On average, children’s cereals have more than 40% more sugars than adult cereals, and twice the sugar of oatmeal, according to the 2014 report from the Environmental Working Group, which also produces the “Dirty Dozen” report on pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Even healthier cereals which contain whole-grains may have added sugars in them. Remember to read the labels. muesli-617710_1920What to eat instead: Muesli (unsweetened, all natural) is a good alternative. Consisting of raw rolled oats and other grains, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, it typically contains less sugar than leading commercial cereals.
  4. Salad dressings.  Green salads are healthy but be wary of sugar-laden dressings such as fruity vinaigrettes, sweet French dressing, Japanese sesame dressing, etc. What to eat instead: Make your own dressing with minced garlic, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

We all know that too much sugar is detrimental to our health. But some products that appear healthy are actually high in sugar to make them more tasty, so it is important to read the labels. Be aware of the following alternative names to sugar or alternative sugar ingredients:

  • Glucose
  • Dextrose or crystal dextrose
  • Dextrin or maltodextrin
  • Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or zea mays syrup (Dr. Ardyce Yik has actually seen “zea mays syrup” as one of the ingredients in a supplement which one of her patients was taking. The manufacturer was likely trying to hide the fact that corn syrup/ sugar was added to the supplement!)
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
  • Caramel
  • Rice syrup

childappleAt the end of the day, eating natural, unprocessed, whole foods is the best way to avoid hidden sugars.

If you are experiencing problems with blood sugar regulation, dealing with PCOS or diabetes, or would like help on establishing a healthful diet regimen, talk to a licensed naturopathic doctor.

SOURCE: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/05/18/peds.2017-0967

Posted in Babies/ Children, Cancer Prevention, General, Heart Health, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, Immunity, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Weight Management, Women's Health | Leave a comment

A curious case of bleeding through skin pores

doctor1I had a peculiar case, recently. A patient, Mr. X, suddenly experienced bleeding through the skin pores on his back- much like sweating, but sweating out blood. He had previously seen me for allergies and food intolerances, but never mentioned anything of this sort. I asked Mr. X about any dietary changes and if he was taking any new medicines or supplements which may thin the blood. He told me that he had only started taking my supplements recently, but mentioned in passing that he had increased the dosage of one particular drug he was taking on a regular basis. Careful investigation led me to the culprit- It turns out that particular drug, in extremely rare cases, could reduce platelet count thus increasing the risk of bleeding. Mr. X stopped taking the drug immediately, and he hasn’t experienced bleeding through his skin pores since.

Two reminders from this case:

  1. Before you increase the dosage of a drug (or supplement), tell the doctor. Ask him or her about the possible side effects associated with it.
  2. Find a practitioner who is willing to work with you to solve your health problems. Mr. X had seen another doctor prior to seeing me. That doctor told him his acute condition probably had to do with platelets, but didn’t go one step further to investigate.

Dr. Ardyce Yik ND is dedicated to helping her patients achieve and maintain optimal health. She occasionally gets some odd cases. Click here to read about the case of the disappearing eyebrows. Click here to read about the case of wrongly diagnosed ADHD.

Posted in Allergies, General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Can’t lose weight? Discover these five hidden causes.

lose-weight-1968908_1920.jpgSpring has sprung and you may be eager to lose some of that winter weight. But what if you’ve tried everything and you still find it difficult to lose weight? Could there be underlying reasons preventing you from losing weight? Dr. Ardyce Yik ND has helped many people lose weight successfully by addressing the underlying causes of weight gain or sluggish weight. In her practice, these are 5 of the top reasons why people can’t lose weight on their own:

  1. Food Intolerances. Do you notice weight gain, bloating or fluid retention after eating certain foods? If so, it could be a food intolerance preventing you from losing weight. Other symptoms associated with food intolerances include digestive
    problems, fatigue, mild depression, aches and pains. Some people are able to lose up to 3 kg just by avoiding the foods they are intolerant to. Dr. Yik offers food intolerance testing for patients who suspect that food reactions play a role in their weight gain. Click here to read more on food intolerances.
  2. worried-girl-413690_1920Stress. High levels of cortisol in the body due to chronic stress can slow metabolism, cause the body to lose muscle and store fat, especially in the abdomen/ tummy region. Stressed out at work or home, and noticed your waistline expanding? If so, it could be due to elevated cortisol levels, which can be properly balanced by botanical medicine, nutraceuticals, nutritional therapy and stress management techniques under the guidance of a licensed naturopathic physician.
  3. Hormonal Imbalance. Do you eat very little, have a small appetite but are still gaining or struggling with weight? Your thyroid hormones may be out of balance. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism, so it plays a key role in weight management. Others may find themselves heavier at certain times of their menstrual cycle (e.g. they will feel bloated and gain weight prior to getting their period) or as they enter menopause (for women) or andropause (for men). Get help from a healthcare practitioner who is trained in helping people rebalance hormones and get their bodies back on track.
  4. Toxic Overload. In 2006, American scientists coined the term “obesogens” to denote a group of foreign chemical compounds that disrupt normal development and balance of lipid metabolism. Obesogens act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight, which in some cases can lead to obesity. Click here to read more on obesogens and what you can do to reduce obesogen exposure.
  5. fat tummyEmotional Eating. Do you need your comfort food (chocolate, ice cream, baked goods, etc.), especially in the evening? Do you crave certain foods under stress or when you feel down? If so, you may be struggling with emotional eating. Many of us turn to food for stress relief, comfort or as a reward. Emotional eaters often feel powerless over their food cravings. Dr. Yik is experienced in helping patients practise mindful eating, as well as regain control over both food and your feelings. She can also rule out any pre-existing condition like anxiety, depression or blood sugar imbalances.

weightDr. Yik is dedicated to helping each patient get to the root cause of their health condition or concern. She is in charge of the Weight Loss program at IMI clinic in Hong Kong. To successfully lose weight, you need not only a suitable diet and regular exercise but also to ensure that underlying hidden causes are addressed. Contact Dr. Yik today to see how she can help you attain your weight goals and become a healthier you.

SOURCE: The New American Diet: How secret “obesogens” are making us fat, and the 6-week that will flatten your belly for good! (Authors: Stephen Perrine with Heather Hurlock)

Posted in Allergies, Digestive Disorders, Emotional/ Psychological Health, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Stress Management, Toxins and Our Health, Weight Management, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2017’s “Dirty Dozen”: Strawberries, spinach most contaminated with pesticides

strawberry-1180048_1920Yesterday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released 2017’s Dirty Dozen™ list, which is comprised of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. Strawberries are at the top of the list, with spinach at second place in the annual ranking of conventionally grown produce with the most pesticide residues. In the analysis, a single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides. Spinach, on average, had twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

top-view-1248955_1920The EWG’s analysis of tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that nearly 70% of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues. A total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products were on the thousands of produce samples it analyzed. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

Pesticide exposure has been linked to childhood cancer, brain disorders such as ADHD/ autism/ dyslexia, and infertility. The pesticide industry and chemical agriculture insist that pesticides on produce are nothing to worry about, but doctors and scientists strongly disagree.

child blackboard2Dr. Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard and lead author of a 2014 study linking synthetic chemicals and brain disorders, is concerned because even ordinary (undiagnosed) children are often affected. “The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis… They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes.”

The 2017 Dirty Dozen™ List:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5.  Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Here are some practical tips to help you make smart choices for you and your family:

  1. childappleFor produce heavily laden with pesticide residues (see the Dirty Dozen™ list above), buy organic. Reduce pesticide exposure, especially in children and if you are trying to conceive. “Even low levels of pesticide exposure can be harmful to infants, babies and young children, so when possible, parents and caregivers should take steps to lower children’s exposures to pesticides while still feeding them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
  2. If buying fully organic is not in your budget, familiarize yourself with the Clean 15™ list. Foods on this list are least likely to contain pesticide residues, so you can buy conventional produce without worrying about excessive pesticide exposure. The Clean 15™: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.
  3. Plain water will not wash away pesticide residues on produce. Try soaking fruits and vegetables in a plain white vinegar solution (4 parts water + 1 part vinegar) for 15 to 30 minutes. You may scrub produce with skin (e.g. apples) with a scrubby brush after they are done soaking. Rinse thoroughly before consuming. A salt water soak (1 tsp salt + 2 to 3 cups of water) can also be used to reduce chemical residues on produce. But note that no washing method is 100% effective for removing all pesticide residues.

vegetables-752153_1920 (1)Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diet. They contain numerous vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals that keep us healthy. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease and premature death. But you need to avoid buying foods contaminated with pesticides. Start making smart consumer choices today.

SOURCE: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

Posted in Babies/ Children, Cancer Prevention, Fertility, General, Heart Health, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Pregnancy, Toxins and Our Health, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to get rid of cold sores (and prevent them from returning)

woman7Do you get cold sores? Want to get rid of them naturally- and prevent them from returning? Read on to get the lowdown on this unsightly but common viral infection.

WHAT CAUSES COLD SORES?

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are small, fluid-filled blisters found on or around the lips. These are caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually HSV-1) and are contagious. (SIDE NOTE: HSV-1 typically causes sores around the mouth and HSV-2 causes genital sores/ genital herpes, though these viruses can cause sores in either place). The virus is spread from person to person by kissing or other close contact with cold sores. Sometimes, it can even spread from contact with apparently normal skin that is shedding the virus. After the first infection, HSV enters the nerve cells and stays “dormant” in a group of nerve cells called a ganglion. Cold sores tend to recur, especially under the following conditions:

  • flu, fever or cold
  • stress
  • depressed immune system
  • hormonal changes (some women find they get cold sores prior to or during menstruation every month)
  • exposure to the sun

HOW TO GET RID OF COLD SORES AND PREVENT RECURRENCE

Zovirax (acyclovir) is a common medicinal cream to treat cold sores. But what if the sores keep coming back? How can we get rid of cold sores naturally and keep the herpes virus dormant in our system (hopefully, forever)? How can we prevent cold sores from returning?

  1. Researchers have found that a diet comprised of foods high in lysine and low in arginine can limit viral replication of HSV. cheese-1972744_1920.jpgTry eating more of the following foods, which have a high lysine to arginine ratio:
    • Cheese, especially Swiss cheese, Gruyère cheese, edam cheese, Gouda cheese
    • Yogurt, milk, ice cream
    • Apples, apricots, pears, figs
    • Beets, avocado, salmon
  2. Nutraceuticals and herbs such as zinc, Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) and L-Lysine can help cold sores heal faster.lemon-balm-770051_1920 L-Lysine is a popular natural remedy for cold sores. This amino acid has been found to be effective in reducing occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent cold sores. L-Lysine supplements can be taken as treatment or prevention. A licensed naturopathic physician can help determine the appropriate supplements and dosages for you.
  3. In traditional Chinese medicine, cold sores are considered to be a fiery, heaty condition indicative of damp heat. A TCM practitioner or licensed naturopathic physician trained in TCM can prescribe the proper herbs for your condition, and bring your body back into balance. Bringing your body back into balance from a fiery, heaty condition can prevent cold sores from recurring.
  4. One of the most common triggers for cold sores is stress, so proper stress management strategies and minimizing negative stress are key to keeping cold sores at bay. In addition, if you get a herpes outbreak every time your period comes, you’re not alone. doctor1Studies confirm that the menstrual period is also a common trigger for cold sores or genital herpes. While Western medicine offers antiviral drugs once a month for that time of the month, some women aren’t comfortable taking pharmaceutical drugs that often. It is important to treat the root cause if you want to prevent recurrence.

Dr. Ardyce Yik ND helps patients investigate the root causes for herpes outbreaks (e.g. stress, weak immune system, nutrient deficiencies, food triggers, etc.). She provides the building blocks for optimal health using natural medicine, nutrition and traditional Chinese medicine. Click here to contact Dr. Yik today.

SOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3115841

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19321610

Posted in General, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, Immunity, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Sexual Health, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Study: eat 10 portions of fruit and veg per day to cut risk for early death

veggies2According to researchers at Imperial College London, the greatest benefit comes from eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, which is double the current guidelines of 5 fruit and vegetable servings daily, for adults. It turns out that eating 5 a day is good, but having 10 a day is better and shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.

WHAT DID THE STUDY FIND?

doctorAs reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers analyzed data from 95 studies, involving close to 2 million participants. They studied 112,000 cancer cases, 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 94,000 deaths.

When the amount of fruit and vegetables eaten was increased to 800g per day (i.e. 10 portions), the risk reductions were 13% for cancer, 24% for heart disease, 33% for stroke, 28% for cardiovascular disease and 31% for premature death. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables.

The study found that apples, pears, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage) and green leafy vegetables (such as chicory and spinach) were best for reducing the risk of stroke, CVD, heart disease, and premature death. The intake of green vegetables, yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables were best for reducing cancer risk.

 

Overall, the researchers believe their findings highlight the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Dr. Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research, explained: “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better.”

fruit1HOW MUCH IS ONE PORTION?

A portion of fruit and vegetables equals 80g, which is approximately:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 large mandarin
  • 2 plums
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 cup of berries
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach or peas
  • 2 spears of broccoli
  • 1 tomato
  • 8 cauliflower florets
  • a dessert bowl of salad

yogurt-1235353_1920EASY WAYS TO INCREASE FRUIT AND VEG INTAKE

  1. For snacks, instead of a muffin or piece of cake, have an apple or orange. Or try carrot/ celery sticks with hummus.
  2. Add berries or sliced kiwi to your chia seed pudding or Greek yogurt.
  3. Include tomato, avocado and lettuce in your sandwich or burger.
  4. For lunch and dinner, strive to eat your vegetables first.
  5. Add a banana or strawberries to your smoothie or protein shake.
  6. Add a side salad to your lunch or dinner.
  7. Order a side of leafy greens.

Dr. Ardyce Yik ND is trained in nutritional therapy. She uses nutrition to treat and prevent illness. In addition, she helps countless adults and children eat according to their body constitution (traditional Chinese medicine method). For nutritional planning or natural solutions to your health issues, contact Dr. Yik today.

SOURCE: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_22-2-2017-16-38-0

 

Posted in Babies/ Children, Cancer Prevention, General, Heart Health, News Update | 2 Comments

Anti-aging solutions: prevent premature aging and slow the aging process, naturally

groupWhat if it is possible to turn back the internal clock? What if we do have some control on how quickly we age? Nobel Laureate and molecular biologist, Elizabeth Blackburn, claims that the key to slowing the aging process lies within our cells- specifically in telomeres, which are cap-like regions at the ends of our chromosomes.

HOW DO WE AGE?

dna2It turns out that telomeres play an important role in health and aging. Telomeres are the tips at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our DNA from deterioration. They are like the plastic caps at the end of shoelaces, or like the erasers at the end of pencils. Over time, as our cells divide over and over again, the telomeres become shorter and shorter.  When the telomeres get too short to work properly, cells in your body start to malfunction or die, and the diseases of old age set in. Shorter telomeres are associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases, including various forms of cancer, stroke, dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Accelerated telomere shortening, which leads to premature aging, can occur with stress, poor dietary choices and inflammation. But increasing telomere length is also possible- In 2015, Stanford researchers found that extending telomere length turns back the internal clock in those cells. And growing evidence is pointing to certain lifestyle behaviours, aspects of nutrition and nutraceuticals/ herbs that can increase telomere length and essentially slow down the aging process.

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?

  1. Get adequate sleep. One study found that telomeres were on average 6% shorter in men sleeping 5 hours or fewer compared with those sleeping more than 7 hours per night. In another study, insomnia was found to be associated with shorter telomere length in older adults. Click here for tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.
  2. run-1342619_1920Regular exercise. A 2008 study involving more than 2400 twins compared the telomere length in those that exercised regularly versus the sedentary ones. The researchers found that after 1 year, based on telomere length, those who exercised in their leisure time on a regular basis were biologically younger than those who didn’t.
  3. sadIntense, unmanaged stress can cause rapid, premature aging. Long work hours, excessive school or work pressure, life crises and relationship issues are among the many stressors we often face in life. A number of studies have linked stress to shorter telomeres. To combat the detrimental effects of stress, try taking adaptogens. Adaptogens are medicinal herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress, resist fatigue and reduce anxiety. They have been used for many centuries in Asia (mainly China and India) to strengthen the body, improve energy and boost resilience in the face of stress. Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola and Astragalus have been reported to prevent telomere shortening and even lengthen telomeres, thereby decelerating the aging process and promoting longevity.
  4. salmonTake your omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids not only protect your heart, play a crucial role in brain function (memory, cognition) and benefit eye health, but it turns out this essential nutrient also affects telomere length. Studies have shown that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a slower rate of telomere shortening. One particular study showed that in patients with coronary heart disease, those with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had longer telomeres.
  5. yoga-pose-1082172_1920A Lancet study in 2013 showed that changes in diet, exercise, stress management and social support can result in longer telomeres, even in patients with a history of cancer. In the study, men who had prostate cancer were divided into two groups. After 5 years, the group that adopted the following lifestyle changes experienced an increase in telomere length of approximately 10%:
    1.  a plant-based diet
    2. moderate exercise (walking 30 minutes a day, six days a week)
    3. stress reduction exercises (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation)
    4. Weekly support group session

The men in the control group who were not asked to alter their lifestyle had measurably shorter telomeres. “Telomere shortening increases the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases,” co-senior author Dr. Peter Carroll said. “We believe that increases in telomere length may help to prevent these conditions and perhaps even lengthen lifespan.”

hand-1549135_1920Click here to read more about natural anti-aging strategies.

A healthy lifestyle and diet are vital to preventing premature aging. But often times, it’s easier said than done. If you need help in restoring optimal health or are interested in personalized anti-aging solutions, talk to your licensed naturopathic doctor. Click here to learn how Dr. Yik can help you.

SOURCES:
http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/01/telomere-extension-turns-back-aging-clock-in-cultured-cells.html
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2813%2970366-8/fulltext
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/185234
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18227361?ordinalpos=7&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier By Elissa Epel and Elizabeth Blackburn
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23144701
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26715231
Posted in Anti-Aging, Cancer Prevention, Emotional/ Psychological Health, General, Immunity, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Stress Management, Women's Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Help- I can’t fall asleep!

alarm-clock-1193291_1920Hong Kong, one of the world’s most densely populated and busiest metropolises, is often dubbed “a city that never sleeps”. And rightly so. Nearly 40% of Hong Kong Chinese adults suffer from insomnia, according to a study by the European Sleep Research Society. Not being able to fall asleep every evening is not only frustrating but can lead to a number of health issues if left untreated.

WHAT CAUSES INSOMNIA?

  1. Consuming caffeinated beverages (e.g. coffee, tea) or foods (e.g. chocolate) in the afternoon or evening
  2. Going to bed at a different time each night
  3. access-1867690_1920Exposure to bright light in the evening or before bedtime (click here to read more about this and melatonin)
  4. Exposure to blue light emitted from electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs in the evening or before bedtime
  5. Hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism, menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) or high levels of cortisol, an adrenal hormone
  6. Depression/ Anxiety
  7. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

WHAT CAN I DO?

  1. Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed. In Hong Kong adolescents who were addicted to internet use, 51% reported having sleep disorders.
  2. children-1922580_1280Expose yourself to bright light during the day. Minimise use of bright lights in the evening. Once it gets dark outside, your pineal gland begins to produce and secrete melatonin, a hormone which controls your sleep-wake cycle. Continuously being exposed to light during the evening will affect melatonin levels and sleep. One study showed that melatonin was suppressed in preschool children who were exposed to bright light in the evening. In the study, one hour of bright-light exposure in the evening suppressed the children’s melatonin secretion by around 90% and these levels remained suppressed for up to 50 minutes after light exposure.
  3. Sleep in total darkness. Do not use night lights and get black-out blinds if you need to. Any light during sleep will disrupt your body’s melatonin production and stimulate the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, which has the opposite effect of melatonin.
  4. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. When you have a regular routine, your body will learn when to wind down in the evening to prepare for sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will help to establish a proper sleep-wake cycle.
  5. flowerTension-reducing techniques. While you lie in bed, take a few deep breaths using your nostrils. Exhale slowly and fully before taking the next deep breath. Try the alternate-nostril breathing technique where you plug one nostril and slowly inhale through one side, then switch/ plug the other nostril and exhale completely through the other side. Another stress-reducing technique: clench your fists for 3 seconds, then slowly release them. Gently shake loose your hands. Repeat these steps several times.

It’s important to treat the root cause. Dr. Ardyce Yik ND helps people investigate and address the underlying causes of health concerns. Whether it’s anxiety, an overactive mind, hot flashes waking you up at night or cortisol imbalances preventing you from getting restful sleep, Dr. Yik is determined to help you overcome your insomnia.

Click here to contact Dr. Yik. Click here to read more tips on how to get better sleep, naturally.

SOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20408932

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20819144

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

Posted in Emotional/ Psychological Health, General, Hormonal (Endocrine) Imbalances, News Update, Stress Management, Weight Management, Women's Health | 1 Comment

Handful of nuts a day keeps the doctor away!

nuts-1703663_1920New research released this month found that eating a handful of nuts every day cuts the risk of a wide range of illnesses. Researchers at the Imperial College of London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology concluded that people who eat around 20g (around a handful) of nuts on a daily basis have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as respiratory conditions, diabetes and infections. Munching on nuts reduced the risk of heart disease by nearly 30%, the risk of cancer by 15%, and the risk of premature death by 22%. Most of the reduction in risk was associated with an intake of approximately 15 to 20 grams per day, and no further reduction was noticed if the intake was increased.

“We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes,” said Dr. Dagfinn Aune, the study’s co-author from the School of Public Health at Imperial College. “It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.” 29 previously published studies involving over 819,000 subjects were analyzed. The research included all kinds of tree nuts- walnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc.

Rich in unsaturated fatty acids (i.e. good fats), fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants, it’s no wonder nuts are considered a “superfood”- they are one of the healthiest foods and most nutritious snacks out there. So, go ahead and indulge in your daily handful this holiday season!

SOURCE: http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-016-0730-3

 

Posted in Anti-Aging, General, Heart Health, Immunity, Men's Health, News Update, Nutrition, Pregnancy, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should I go gluten-free?

hotdogGluten-free foods, gluten-free menu options… Gluten-free choices are everywhere nowadays, but does it mean you should go gluten-free?

Consider the following:

  1. If you’ve got celiac disease, then going gluten-free is necessary. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains). Eating gluten or gluten-containing foods will lead to gut inflammation and destruction of the intestinal tract (in addition to debilitating pain and anemia). This condition can be life-threatening if left untreated. Celiac disease affects about 1 percent of the population.
  2. Some people feel unwell after eating foods which contain gluten. Some patients tell Dr. Yik that prior to removing gluten from their diet, they felt tired, bloated, depressed, they had headaches, they suffered from skin ailments, etc. but once they cut gluten out, the symptoms disappeared. Others say that reducing gluten correlates with feeling better or losing weight. For these people, they may have a gluten/ wheat allergy OR gluten intolerance. Click here to read about the difference between a food allergy or food intolerance.
  3. womanillIf your lab tests are negative (i.e. you don’t have the above conditions), and you still suffer from unpleasant symptoms after eating wheat products, then you may have what’s called non-celiac wheat sensitivity. Many of Dr. Yik‘s patients fall into this category. Medical doctors may be dismissive after seeing that the patient has neither celiac disease nor a gluten or wheat allergy/ intolerance. But the symptoms you experience are real and research presented at United European Gastroenterology Week 2016 in mid-October may shed some light on why you feel unwell. Dr. Detlef Schuppan (who holds faculty positions at Johannes Gutenberg University and Harvard Medical School) and his team have revealed that another protein found in wheat, called ATIs (amylase-trypsin inhibitors), contributes to non-celiac wheat sensitivity. ATIs appear to cause inflammation. This inflammatory reaction can also worsen chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. So, for people who fall into this category, avoiding gluten and wheat are crucial to better health.
  4. What if I just want to go gluten-free…? Data from the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School found that while the prevalence of celiac disease remained fairly stable over 2009 to 2014, the number of people who followed a gluten-free diet without having celiac disease more than tripled. woman5Perhaps this surge is due to what I’ve explained in #2 and #3. Or perhaps people have read the recent bestseller books in which the authors argue that gluten and carbohydrates are at the root of Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Or maybe some people have jumped onto the gluten-free bandwagon just to follow a trend. If you fall into this group, here’s some food for thought:
    1. Whole grains are an important source of B vitamins, fiber and minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium. For the average person who doesn’t have wheat or gluten issues, it’s not necessary to consume only gluten-free foods. As with all things, moderation is key.
    2. A significant number of people think that gluten-free food products are healthier but often times, they’re not. Gluten-free products and snacks may contain more sugar and fat to make them taste better, so be sure to check the ingredient labels.

If you feel unwell or if you have conditions (e.g. eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, migraines, headaches, etc.) that flare up after eating gluten or wheat products, you should get tested. For a holistic approach, find a licensed naturopathic doctor who can help you investigate root causes and navigate through appropriate treatment options to restore proper function of your digestive and immune systems.

SOURCES:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/to-gluten-or-not-to-gluten

http://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/

https://www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/new-study-links-protein-in-wheat-to-the-inflammation-of-chronic-health-conditions/

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