• Gut Health
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    • Heart Health

      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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Childhood Obesity: Up Close and Personal

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/30/2010


Think our kids aren’t picking up our unhealthy eating habits? Think again. I read recently that childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled in the last 30 years… yes, I said tripled. Even scarier is that some experts predict this might be the first generation that doesn’t outlive their parents.

According to the Washington Post one third of all American children are overweight or obese. What does that mean for our kids? A laundry list of adverse health effects—everything from increased risk of heart attack and stroke to hormonal changes, liver damage, and yes, shorter life spans than ever before. Wake up, America! We need to start making a change!

If you’re as concerned as I am, you’ll want to check out this eye-opening interactive diagram from the Post’s website on childhood obesity. The organ-by-organ summary lets you click on different organs for details about the damage that obesity can do over time. And get the kids involved—the diagram is a great visual learning tool for adolescents and teens as well as adults, and it’s really important that we increase awareness about the dangers of an unhealthy body weight. It may be a small step, but it’s an important step!

Kid-safe Lunches, Peace of Mind for Parents

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/29/2010


There are so many helpful resources out there! Yesterday on the Poop Scoop radio show, we discussed how important nutrition is for a child’s development. Fresh fruits, veggies, whole-grain breads and natural peanut butter—you do everything you can to make sure your kids are eating healthy lunches, but what about what you’re packing those lunches in?

Plastic lunch boxes and food containers can release harmful chemicals through off-gassing*, so it’s a good idea to avoid them whenever possible. But as any busy parent knows, it’s hard to do when those little containers are so darn convenient! The solution? ECOLunchbox.

The company makes everything from cloth lunch bags to stainless steel food containers, so you can feel good knowing your kids are getting all the good stuff without the risk of harmful toxins. And the best part? The products are great for grown-ups too! 

*Off-gassing: The process by which toxic chemicals are released into the air through evaporation.

Wed 4/28 on the Poop Scoop: Feeding your Child’s Brain – Nutrition and Behavior

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/27/2010


Parents Unite! Getting Your Children to Eat Right – 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 tomorrow’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!

Simple Tips for IBS Sufferers

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/26/2010


Irritable bowel syndrome affects more than 50 million Americans every day, so chances are pretty good that you or someone you know suffers from IBS. But despite the number of people affected, the condition is still widely misunderstood. Here are a few natural solutions that can help you take the first steps toward better bowel health!

Add More Fiber. In addition to its role in heart health and weight management, fiber promotes optimal digestive function by helping to absorb and eliminate toxins in the colon that can contribute to IBS symptoms.

Cut the Fat. Eating foods that are high in fat such as fried foods and certain meats can contribute to IBS. Be sure to consume these types of foods in moderation.

Limit Caffeine. Highly caffeinated foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, soda and chocolate) have been shown to worsen IBS symptoms.

Avoid Foods High in Sulfur. Some foods that are healthy—including vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions and broccoli—are high in sulfur and may actually trigger IBS symptoms. Opt for low-sulfur veggies such as carrots or green beans.

Soothe the Digestive Tract. Many herbs and nutraceuticals such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, and the amino acid L-glutamine can help nourish and soothe the intestinal tract and bowel.

Balance with Probiotics. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the intestines that work to crowd out harmful pathogens that can lead to impaired digestion. These healthy bacteria can help promote a balanced intestinal environment.

Drink Plenty of Water. Drinking plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces every day) will help flush out toxins and other harmful microbes that may be causing IBS symptoms.

Try Colon Hydrotherapy. IBS sufferers—especially those with severe symptoms—may find that natural colon hydrotherapy can help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.

Gone Fishin’? There’s Mercury in Your Catch!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/23/2010


Notable News – I love fish. It’s one of those great sources of lean protein that you can eat and really feel like you’re doing something healthy for your body, but when I heard the results of a recent U.S. Geological Survey, the first word that came to mind was “Yikes!”

USGS experts tested fish from freshwater streams across the entire country, and what did they find? Mercury in every single fish—and a quarter of all those fish contained mercury levels above the recommended limit for safe consumption (0.33 parts per million). Holy mackerel!

What really caught my attention though was that the highest levels of mercury were found in the southeast, where I live. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana were the states with the highest mercury amounts in their freshwater fish.

But fish is so important in our diets, and studies show that the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil are highly reduced in the Standard American Diet (SAD), so what do we do when we hear reports like this? Should we eat fish or not? The answer is yes, but we just have to make sure we’re eating the right kinds of fish.  

Smaller, cold-water fish like sardines are best because they don’t stay in the food chain as long as some larger types of fish like grouper. That means they don’t have a very long time to build up large amounts of mercury in their bodies. If you don’t like sardines, try wild salmon, which is high in beneficial Omega-3s and relatively lower in mercury.

Still not convinced? A high-quality fish oil supplement can help you get your Omega-3s without the worry. High-potency, purified fish oils are sourced from smaller fish like anchovies and sardines—just remember to look for a fish oil that uses the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) certification to ensure freshness, purity and potency.

IBS… It’s not B.S.!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/22/2010


Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about irritable bowel syndrome—once upon time doctors thought IBS wasn’t even real. I mean it! They thought it was just an imaginary health condition made up by middle-class housewives with too much time on their hands, can you believe that? And not only that, but because they thought the condition was “all in their heads,” their solution was just to prescribe antidepressants. Thank goodness we’ve come a long way since then.

Today the medical community recognizes that IBS is a real, honest-to-goodness disorder that affects millions of people all over the world, but even now many doctors are still prescribing antidepressants. And while yes, there is a mental component to IBS, antidepressants are really just a band-aid for a group of symptoms that begins elsewhere…in the gut!

It’s no surprise that IBS involves symptoms that affect mood and emotions—the gut-brain connection is very real, and it’s true that what goes on in your gut affects your brain. But…if you have IBS and have been given the antidepressant band-aid, you need to dig further. Sure, antidepressants can make you feel better—that’s what they’re meant to do—but they don’t come without side effects, and they don’t get to the real cause. 

Your symptoms of constipation, diarrhea (or both), gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort and moodiness are the result of a war going on in your own gut, so what’s the solution? I’m blogging all month on the real truth about IBS to help you take the steps necessary to bring peace to your gut—and eventually, peace of mind.

Wed 4/21/10 on the Poop Scoop: Healthy Immunity Starts in the Gut

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/20/2010


Did you know that a healthy gut can help you fight back against colds and flu? This week on the Poop Scoop I’ll be talking with renowned medical doctor and nutrition expert Leonard Smith about the importance of a strong digestive tract for boosting immunity and warding off harmful bacteria and viruses. After all, more than 70 percent of your body’s natural immune defenses live in your gut!

Dr. Leonard Smith is a prominent general, gastrointestinal and vascular surgeon, as well as an expert on nutrition and natural supplementation. For the past 25 years, Dr. Smith has studied countless holistic medical programs, including those focusing on immunity, longevity, nutrition, exercise, chelation, stress management and the relevance of mental and spiritual attitude with regard to healing. Acknowledging the effectiveness of whole organic foods and nutritional supplementation, Dr. Smith strives to stay on the cutting edge of research and keep pace with the latest advances in the field of functional nutrition.

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!

Trouble Sleeping? Try this Quick Tip!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/19/2010


‘Renew You Challenge’ – Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you wake up a lot during the night, or have a hard time waking up in the morning? Insomnia can be a real downer, especially since it affects how you feel during the day, and not just at night—so here’s a quick tip that might help you find relief.

If you’re among the millions of people who suffer from insomnia, try this: Do your best to create a darker sleeping environment, since complete darkness is the best environment for deep sleep. And no, I’m not saying you should go sleep in a cave or lock yourself in the closet, but take a look around your bedroom and ask yourself if it’s really dark enough for healthy sleep. Is there an outside light shining through the window? Are there electronic devices like clocks or computers blinking or lighting up the space? Or worse, do you sleep with the TV on??

This week, try to make your bedroom as dark as possible, then see how it affects your sleep over the next week or so. With any luck, it’ll be just what you needed!

The Link between Gut Bacteria and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/15/2010


If I asked you what the connection was between the bacteria in your gut and the symptoms of irritable bowel, would you know? Okay, so those of you who’ve spent any time reading my books or listening to my Poop Scoop internet radio show probably would, but something this important is definitely worth repeating—especially during IBS Awareness Month!

The number of bacteria in your gut outnumbers the cells in your body twenty to one, which means these little guys are in control of your health whether you like it or not! So when we talk about a gut bacteria balance, we mean we want to keep the good guys (called probiotics) in control so they can help crowd out the bad bacteria before they can cause problems. Another term for unbalanced gut bacteria is dysbiosis.

And here’s where it gets interesting! In IBS patients, lower amounts have been found of the probiotics Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, but the potentially harmful bacteria like enterobacteriaceae, coliforms and bacteroides have been found in higher amounts. Interestingly, dysbiosis causes many of the same symptoms as IBS, and in fact one form of dysbiosis known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) has been associated with IBS.

So can probiotics help bring balance back to your gut and possibly relieve IBS symptoms such as gas and bloating, occasional constipation and occasional diarrhea? Yes! Keep in mind however that for some people with more sensitive colons, it may be necessary to start with smaller amounts of probiotics, building up to a therapeutic dose gradually to avoid the over-fermentation that may occur.

Wed, 4/14/10 on the Poop Scoop: Your Pets are People Too!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/13/2010


Do you ever find yourself talking about your pets like they’re people? I know I do—and if you’re a pet person or you know someone who is, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Our four-legged companions bring so much joy to our lives that we just couldn’t imagine life without them, which is why on this week’s Poop Scoop I’ll be talking with my friend and personal veterinarian Dr. Joel Murphy about how to help our pets stay healthy, happy and full of energy.

Dr. Murphy is a nationally known holistic veterinarian whose passion for animal well being has created a whole new standard in veterinary care. In addition to his advanced training in dog and cat diseases, he’s also the founder of The Animal and Bird Medical Center right here in Florida! Join me and Dr. Murphy as we talk about the benefits of combining both conventional and natural veterinary medicine, and how the right diet and holistic therapies like herbs and flower essences can improve the health and emotional well being of pets of all ages.  

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!