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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

  • Skin Health
    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

  • Brain Health
    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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Wed 3/31/10 on the Poop Scoop: The Gut/Brain Connection – Anxiety, Depression and Addiction

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/30/2010


Depression, anxiety, addiction to drugs and alcohol—they may not seem like things you’d associate with good intestinal health, but the truth may surprise you. In fact, your brain and your gut are more closely connected than you might think, and scientists are just now beginning to understand how important a healthy gut is when it comes to better brain function.

Join me and my guest, Dr. Marvin Sponaugle, the founder of Florida Detox® and a pioneer in the field of addiction treatment. Dr. Sponaugle is changing the way “brain” conditions are treated and has seen remarkable breakthroughs in his patients using natural therapies to correct hormonal/nutritional deficiencies and improve gut health. If you or someone you love suffers from addiction, anxiety or depression, don’t miss what Dr. Sponaugle has to say about the remarkable treatment techniques that can accelerate your recovery.

Log on and listen to Brenda’s Poop Scoop LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5 pm (EST) right from your computer. Missed an episode? Visit the Episode Directory on my website and listen to past shows from the archive!

The Curb Appeal of Fiber

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/29/2010


So you’re on a diet, but you can’t stop thinking about food. First you crave something sweet, then you crave something salty, then you crave carbs—any carbs. Take it from me, it’s hard not to think about food while you’re on a diet, but there IS a solution!

One of the very best ways to keep away those pesky cravings is by eating more fiber every day. It’s that simple! Fiber does some pretty amazing things in the body, one of which is triggering the release of an anti-hunger hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). 

CCK is produced in the small intestine and plays an important role in bile production and digestive enzyme secretion, but it also helps with satiety, which means it sends a message to your brain when you’re full. So the more fiber you eat with each meal, the faster you’ll feel full, and the less likely your chances of overeating! (FYI: Eating more fats will also stimulate the release of CCK, but fiber is definitely better for you and a lot lower in calories.)

In a series of studies done at the University of California, researchers found that both women and men who ate a high-fiber meal released more CCK that those who ate a low-fiber meal, and that CCK levels were actually twice as high after a the high-fiber meal. 

Fiber also helps curb cravings simply by taking up a lot of space in your stomach.  Basically, high-fiber foods pack a lot of volume but contain very few calories, so   even though they fill you up, they’re not going to send your calorie intake through the roof. It’s a win-win situation—more fullness, fewer calories! I recommend eating at least 35 grams of fiber every day, especially since the average American only consumes about 10 to 15 grams daily.

Consuming more fruits and vegetables is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake, but if you’re still having a hard time reaching 35 grams a day, add a high-quality fiber supplement with a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed, oat fiber and acacia fiber are great options, but try to avoid products made with psyllium because they can cause gas, bloating and constipation.

Your Lipstick: Leaded or Unleaded?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/26/2010


Notable News – This story really shocked me, so listen up ladies! Even though your lips may be one of the last places you’d expect to find toxic metals, a new FDA study might have you thinking twice before you apply your favorite shade.

Experts recently retested 20 different lipsticks first tested in 2007, and guess what they found? Even higher levels of lead than in the previous study. I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like that’s a little backwards!

On average, the lipsticks contained 1.07 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is 10 times more than the FDA-recommended limit for candy… but the FDA claims that because lipstick isn’t ingested, there is no comparison. What?! Who says lipstick isn’t ingested?? And if that’s what they’re basing their recommendations on, doesn’t it make you wonder about all the other sources of lead we might be exposed to without even knowing it?

Now, I’ve seen several reports on this subject, and in every one they downplay the risk—well I say no way! Lead is a potent neurotoxin, which means it can cause serious damage to the brain. Not only that, but it can be stored in the body (especially the bones) for years. So do your research and make sure the lipstick you use isn’t one of the ones that were tested, and when you’re shopping for lipstick or any cosmetics, always choose a responsible company. Come to think of it, that’s good advice for all products!

Rate Your Poop

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/25/2010


Now I bet just the title of this post had you curious, didn’t it? That’s because poop is fascinating—take it from me! So before you start to chuckle about today’s Health Link, remember that investigating the look and consistency of your stool is one of the best ways to determine how healthy you are overall, so check out the Bristol Stool Chart and today and rate your poop!

Developed by experts at the University of Bristol in England, this helpful chart is an important tool for helping to study intestinal transit time (how long it takes your food to move through your digestive tract and out through your colon) and for learning more about how to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

Some quick tips—if your poop looks like a 3 or 4, you’re probably in good shape. But if you’re closer to a 1 or a 2, there’s a good chance you’re constipated, which means you need to get things moving! On the other hand, if your poops fall into the 5 to 7 range, things are moving too much!

It’s also important to consider how many bowel movements you have each day, and in case you haven’t heard me say it before, you ideally want to have 2 to 3 healthy bowel movements every day. And if you have accompanying symptoms like gas and bloating, or heartburn? There might be an underlying problem you really need to address—so take a little time to learn your poop score and give your digestive system the TLC it deserves!

Wed 3/24/10 on the Poop Scoop – Going From Fatigue to Fantastic!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/23/2010


Every day I meet people who, after hearing what I do for a living, proceed to tell me their health issues. One of the most common complaints I hear is fatigue, and I mean extreme fatigue. People want to know ‘why do I feel so bad?’ or ‘Why don’t I have any energy?’ Most people don’t realize that this health issue can be stemming from your gut. What I mean is that your chronic fatigue may be the result of an unhealthy and unbalanced digestive system.

Join me as we focus on one such person who was suffering from prolonged, progressive chronic fatigue and her journey back to better health — my good friend and personal trainer, Katie. Just because you’re in the fitness business doesn’t mean you’ll be full of energy and vibrant health. Wait till you hear what Katie’s health was really like!

Log on and listen to Brenda’s Poop Scoop LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5 pm (EST) right from your computer. Missed an episode? Visit the Episode Directory on my website and listen to past shows from the archive!

Feeling Stuck?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/22/2010


‘Renew You’ Challenge – Ever just get weighed down by life and feel… well, stuck? Maybe you’re not feeling right physically, or maybe you’ve been out of sorts emotionally or spiritually, or you could just have an everyday case of brain fog. The truth is, there are a lot of ways to feel stuck, but one of the best ways to feel un-stuck is to get moving—your bowels, that is!

When you’re constipated, not only do your insides feel sluggish, but it can affect other aspects of your life too, like whether or not you have the energy to exercise or go to work, and it can even lead to emotional “blockages” in relationships. The bottom line is that constipation can lead to a vicious cycle of stuck-ness, which is why maintaining good bowel function is so important to your overall health. 

This week, if you’re not having at least one good bowel movement per day (and sorry for getting a bit graphic here, but that means about one foot long or more), then you need to get things moving—and cleansing is the answer!

A comprehensive total-body cleanse can get things moving by helping to support the body’s 7 channels of elimination—those are the liver, lungs, lymphatic system, kidneys, skin, blood, and of course, the bowel! Look for a 2-part formula with herbs like cape aloe, rhubarb root, and slippery elm in the evening colon cleanse component. These are gentle laxative herbs that help to jumpstart a sluggish colon, and they aren’t purgative like cascara sagrada and senna, which should both be avoided. 

More than 30% of Americans Are Obese

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/19/2010


 

Dieting, weight loss… they’re words nobody likes hearing, but in a country where 34% of our adults are obese, we really need to think about what we’re putting on our plates, don’t you think?

Studies show that the obesity rate has been climbing for years, and we’re not just talking about being a few pounds overweight. ‘Obese’ means that more than a third of all Americans are 30+ pounds over a healthy weight, so it’s no wonder we’ve seen such a big increase in obesity-related health problems. Those extra pounds put added strain on the body and can make a big difference in our overall health.

But wait, there is some good news! Studies show that the obesity rate seems to be leveling off, so even though more people are obese than they were ten years ago, for the past couple years the rate has not increased. To put this into perspective, in 1980 the obesity rate was less than half what it is now (just 15%), so when the obesity rate actually begins to fall, then we can really give ourselves a pat on the back. 

Okay, so what can we do to help put those rates on the decline? It starts with lifestyle changes, and not just changes in your diet, but I mean long-term, honest-to-goodness, stick-to-them-for life changes like exercising more, getting more sleep, and drinking plenty of water.

And instead of quick-fix fad diets that are often unhealthy and don’t really teach you how to eat well, my Fiber35 Diet provides a sensible, healthful approach to long-term weight management that works with every lifestyle, no matter who you are or where you live.

Take it from me, fiber is one pretty amazing nutrient, and getting at least 35 grams a day is a great way to take off unhealthy weight and improve your health and digestion at the same time, so what are you waiting for? Let’s start changing those statistics today!

What’s Your Gut Telling You?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/18/2010


‘Renew You’ Challenge – Admit it, at one time or another you’ve had a stomachache, a little extra gas or even diarrhea, and what did you do? You ignored it! And unfortunately, you’re not alone.

Too often folks ignore what they think are minor digestive problems, or worse—we suppress them with temporary medications that only lessen the pain but don’t get to the root of the problem!

This week, I want you to do something really important: Pay attention to your gut.  Keep a piece of paper handy and write down any digestive issues that you have throughout the day, and at the end of the week take a look back at what you found.

Gas and bloating on Monday? Constipation on Wednesday? Write it all down! Listening to what your gut is trying to tell you is the first step to figuring out what’s really going on and finding a way to fix it.

FDA has ‘Some Concern’ about BPA… Finally!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/11/2010


You know how I feel about toxins, right? Right. So when I heard that the FDA had finally updated its warning about one of the most harmful toxic chemicals out there today, I thought to myself, “It’s about time!”

The folks at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been dragging their feet for some time now on the issue of bisphenol A (or BPA for short). BPA, which I’m sure you’ve heard of by now unless you’ve been living under a rock, is one of the most prevalent chemicals in use today, and it’s found in 90% of the population—which means yes, it’s probably inside you right now!

BPA is used in the lining of canned foods and in many hard plastic products like those reusable water bottles you see everywhere. One of the most concerning uses of BPA, however, is its presence in plastic baby bottles and ‘sippy’ cups, as well as in containers for infant formula and food.

Whereas before they said BPA was ‘safe’ for infants, the FDA has since changed its tune. Now when you go on their website and research BPA, you can see that their new statement says they are concerned about the “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children”. So as a result the FDA is now supporting the removal of BPA from containers that are used by infants. Well, thank goodness!

But still, let’s not forget how BPA affects adults too—another study just came out that confirmed the link between high BPA levels and cardiovascular disease, showing that people who have the highest amounts of BPA in their urine also had the highest rates of heart disease. How’s that for a wake-up call? Just something to keep in mind the next time you consider buying canned foods or filling up your water bottle.

Wednesday 3/10/10 on the Poop Scoop: Parents Unite! Getting Your Children to Eat Right

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/09/2010


Every parent knows it’s not always easy getting kids to eat healthy, especially since we can’t be with them every second of the day. But teaching children early on about the benefits of good nutrition is one of the most important things we as parents can do to help them grow into healthy adults, and the good news? It may not be as hard as you think!

On this week’s Poop Scoop I’ll be talking with Dr. Tara Garlitz about simple and effective ways to helps kids make smart choices when it comes to food. Tara is a mom of three who’s been working with children and families for more than 10 years to help them understand the important connection between diet, digestive health and overall wellness, including the role of good bacteria in the gut and why daily probiotics are a must. So parents—don’t miss out on this valuable advice!

Log on and listen to Brenda’s Poop Scoop LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5 pm (EST) right from your computer. Missed an episode? Visit the Episode Directory on my website and listen to past shows from the archive!