Archive for the ‘Brain Health’ Category

Migraines: Food Can Help or Hurt

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Migraines can often be debilitating so it’s important that you do everything you can to prevent them. Some foods that you consume can either cause or help prevent migraines. Trigger foods can increase your likelihood of getting a migraine by 30%. A few foods that may trigger migraines are wine, chocolate, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and citrus fruits. Some common ingredients in those foods are gluten, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and nitrites. The time you consume these foods and how much you eat are also factors that could determine whether or not you get a migraine.

flu-and-sneezing-imageFoods that are high in histamines may also be triggers for migraines. The theory behind this is that people who suffer from migraines tend to have low or no enzymes that are required to break down histamine.

There are foods that may help prevent migraines. These include foods that are high in omega-3s to omega-6s and folate. Fatty fish like salmon, vegetable oils, and lentils are all good foods to consume if you suffer from migraines. If you know you are someone who suffers from this severe vascular headache, then you might consider making some diet changes.

Take control of your health!

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Dietary Changes that Can Help your Thyroid

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The thyroid gland performs one of the most important roles in the body:

  • produce hormones that regulate the metabolic rate,
  • assist with heart and digestive functions,
  • development of the brain, and
  • maintenance of your bones.

Women tend to have hormone imbalances while pregnant and during menopause which makes them more susceptible than men to have a thyroid condition. The thyroid gland is often mismanaged which can lead to a lot of health issues, so it is important that the thyroid is working correctly.  One of the things you can do to help your thyroid is make dietary changes which can increase your overall wellness and the health of your thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland requires certain minerals and vitamins to function properly and since everyone’s different, the best way to find out what your body needs is to get a thyroid panel blood test. The thyroid panel is offered on our website healthonelabs.com for $49.95 and will help you determine your levels and if they are within the proper reference ranges. The following are nutrients you should be getting to help with your thyroid:

  • Iodine: It is a crucial element required for thyroid hormone production, if your lab results say that your thyroxine(T4) and Triiodothyronine(T3) levels are low you should seek to include more iodine-rich foods. Some iodine-rich foods are sea vegetables(kelp), cranberries, organic strawberries, and organic potatoes. Iodine blood test is offered on our website for $49.95
  • Selenium: This element contains enzymes that protect the thyroid gland when you are under a lot of stress. Selenium helps to control hormone synthesis converting T4 into T3. The proteins and enzymes from Selenium also helps to manage metabolism in the body and preserve the right amount of thyroid hormones in the blood and organs. Foods that are high in selenium are halibut, yellowfin tuna, sardines, and chicken. Selenium blood test is offered on our website for $99.95
  • Zinc and Iron: Low levels of these trace metals can cause low levels of T3, T4, and thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH) which we know are very important for the thyroid gland to function properly. Underactive and overactive thyroid glands can cause zinc deficiency thus causing lowered thyroid hormones. Some examples of food that are rich in zinc are flax seeds, oysters, shrimp, and beef. Some foods high in iron are nuts, beans, whole grains and dark leafy greens such as spinach. Zinc and iron blood tests are offered on our website. Zinc is $39.95 and iron for $19.95

Have a happy and healthy 2017!


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A Healthy Diet Promotes Better Memory!

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Memories influence and shape your personality. It’s your thoughts, connections, and all other recollections that make you who you are, and memory loss is essentially a loss of a part of you. However, there might be more you can do to boost your memory. Studies show that healthier diets help improve memory in the long run.

brain memoryDiets high in cholesterol and fat could increase the rate at which beta-amyloid plaques in the brain are created. Amyloid beta is a protein involved with Alzheimer’s disease; it is the main component found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  Also affected are the blood vessels in the brain which can be damaged thus preventing brain cells from receiving the oxygen-rich blood they need to function normally.  The end result may be a a degradation in thinking and memory.

Although there is still not much information available about a brain-healthy diet, a hearty-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, reduces risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity and may also help prevent memory loss. A heart-healthy diet is very similar to a Mediterranean diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and limited red meat. There are limited studies that dietary supplements such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may stall memory loss, but may be considered for some.


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Chocolate – Healthy or Not?

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Some argue that chocolate may help prevent cardiovascular disease and better your memory, but is it true? There have been studies conducted to see if chocolate really was correlated with the prevention of heart disease and dementia and it seems that it’s not really the chocolate that is helping but the flavanols that the cocoa beans contain. Flavanols are bioactive compounds that have a unique blend of phytonutrients which can only be found in the cocoa bean. Although there has not been enough clinical trials to determine whether or not flavanols can help prevent heart disease, flavanols can relax blood vessels and stimulate blood flow to the brain.

chocolateChocolate is made with many components but cocoa solids and cocoa fat are the main ones. Cocoa solids are rich in flavanols but the cocoa fat doesn’t have any flavanols at all. Using those two components, plus other ingredients, you can make the four most popular types of chocolate; cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate.

Cocoa powder is produced by fermenting, roasting, and crushing cocoa beans into a paste-type of substance. Then the fat is removed and ground into a fine powder. Naturally processed unsweetened cocoa powder is great for you because it is rich in flavanols and low in calories.

Dark chocolate is made of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar. The amount of flavanols you get from dark chocolate varies: You might be getting a high dosage of flavanols but in the process you will also be digesting a lot of calories.

Milk chocolate contains cocoa powder, cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar. It has less cocoa than dark chocolate therefore having less flavanols.  In order to get a high dosage of flavanols from milk chocolate you would have to consume over 1,000 calories of it.

Chocolate is a great source of flavanols but just make sure you watch how much chocolate you eat because it is also high in calories.  Eating chocolate is a great alternative to eating baked goods, so if you eat it in moderation it shouldn’t do you any harm!

Flavanol-rich Food for Thought


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Is Your Medication Affecting Your Thinking?

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Is your medication affecting your thinking skills? Every time you take medication there are possible side effects:

  • dry mouth,
  • nausea or
  • drowsiness.

brain memory

Certain medication may affect your thinking skills; a lessor known and potentially debilitating side affect:

Anticholinergics, which can be found in over-the-counter and prescription medication, can alter your mental status and put older people at a higher risk for falls. Anticholinergics may be found in medications that treat for muscle spasms, depression, incontinence and allergies.  Many of these medications are taken by the elderly thereby further increasing their risk for falls and cognitive function.

How does Acetylcholine affect the brain?

These common medications can block acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for stimulation and activity in the brain. Slow brain activity caused by the acetylcholine being blocked, leads to confusion. People who are older tend to take more medication which leads to a chemical reaction that may impact the brain activity and also leaving the brain with higher concentration of acetylcholine.  High levels of acetylcholine can eventually cause the body to have a difficult time to rid the chemical out of their bodies quickly.

Considerations for you and your physician

The medication dosages should be based on the patient’s kidney function and your physician can assist with providing you the dosages that can treat symptoms while minimizing negative side affects. Frequently, the side effects of these medications can be mistaken for side effects of old age, so it is important to monitor side effects after starting to take medication with acetylcholine. You should also talk to your physician or pharmacist to find out how much acetylcholine you are taking, and let them know any over-the-counter medicine you are taking to ensure you’re not taking a high dosage of acetylcholine.

Additional reading:  The Role of Acetylcholine in Learning and Memory


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