• Gut Health
  • Heart Health
    • 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 .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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Let’s Hear it for Soluble Fiber!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/30/2010


So check this out, a new study is taking the benefits of soluble fiber to a whole new level! Recently scientists discovered that soluble fiber increases the anti-inflammatory compound interleukin-4 (IL-4) in the body when a bacterial infection occurs, which basically means it helps fight off the infection. Pretty interesting stuff, huh?

Not only that, but researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of soluble fiber may even help reduce the inflammation that occurs in people who eat high-fat diets—a theory they’ll be following up on in future studies.

The bottom line is that a high-fiber diet provides oodles of health benefits for your whole body—including heart health, better digestion and regularity, and even healthy weight loss—so it’s important to get enough fiber in your daily diet. I recommend at least 35 grams daily of both soluble and insoluble fiber, since both types are crucial for overall health…but what’s the difference?

Soluble fiber acts like a sponge and helps soak up waste and toxins in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber helps to “scrub” the colon free of debris and promote healthy elimination. Scientists point out, however, that a lot of people may not know the difference between them, so hopefully this will bring about better labeling on fiber products!

Wed 6/30 on the Poop Scoop: Hormonal Imbalance and Its Effect on the Brain

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/29/2010


What if there was a better, safer way to help people we love who are suffering from depression, anxiety, even insomnia? What if we could find a way to deal with addiction—from everyday food cravings to a need for alcohol and even drugs—that focused on the body as a whole rather than just the symptom? Well, guess what? When it comes to your health, everything’s connected—and nobody knows that better than Dr. Rick Sponaugle, founder of Florida Detox® and my guest on tomorrow’s Poop Scoop.

Join me and Dr. Sponaugle to learn more about the link between hormonal imbalance and how it affects the body’s brain chemistry and may contribute to a wide range of physical and emotional disorders, especially in women. A pioneer in the field of addiction treatment, Dr. Sponaugle is changing the way “brain” conditions are treated and has seen incredible breakthroughs using natural therapies to balance brain chemistry, correct nutritional deficiency, and balance the body’s hormones. If you or someone you love suffers from anxiety, depression, insomnia or addiction, 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!

View Behind-the-Scenes Photos of My New PBS Special!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/28/2010


This past Saturday, we filmed my newest PBS special about probiotics called The Road to Perfect Health, and what a great time everyone had! Okay, so it can be a little exhausting making sure all the technical stuff gets done right, and sure, there were some do-overs, but the energy from the audience was so positive, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the show when it airs on PBS later this year. Check out these photos for an exciting sneak preview!

For those of you who may not know, probiotics are what I like to call your Gut Protection System, or GPS. That’s because all those friendly bacteria in your digestive tract make up a huge portion of your body’s natural immune defenses, so keeping your gut in balance has a lot to do with how you feel every day. Not only that, but probiotics play a key role in good digestion and manufacturing important vitamins, which is why taking a daily probiotic supplement is so important. Be sure to tune in to PBS beginning this November to find out more about the benefits of probiotics—and what you can do every day to keep your GPS in tip-top shape!

Childhood Constipation – Gluten and Cow’s Milk to Blame?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/25/2010


We all know how uncomfortable constipation can be, so imagine what it must feel like for little kids…ugh! That’s why a recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology caught my eye.

The study suggests that a combination of two things may be involved in higher incidences of constipation in children: 1. introducing gluten in the first year of life, and 2. an allergy to cow’s milk.

This is not surprising when you consider that the digestive tracts of infants are still very sensitive, especially in the first months of life. Not only that, but their immune systems are weaker, which means they are more susceptible to pretty much everything.

So the bottom line? When it comes to little tummies, it’s better to wait on the gluten and cow’s milk until they are more ready to handle it. And yes, some children may eat it and be fine (or appear fine), but I say better safe than sorry! There are plenty of substitutes for gluten and cow’s milk these days, even for infants.

All this is important because childhood constipation has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in adults, so if your child has chronic constipation, be sure to take a look at his or her diet. Other dietary factors to think about are fiber intake (since fiber helps promote regular bowel movements) and intestinal balance. In babies who are not breast fed, who were delivered by cesarean section, or who have been treated with antibiotics, there is a greater risk for an altered intestinal flora balance, so a daily probiotic supplement may be helpful in these situations.

Fish oil and Psychosis

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/23/2010


So here’s something I thought was interesting – a new study about fish oils and young people with schizophrenia found that taking a daily fish oil supplement may help prevent the development of psychosis and promote better health.

More than 75 participants were given either a placebo (basically a non-effective sugar pill) or a supplement containing 1.2 grams of Omega-3 fish oil (in this case 700mg EPA and 480mg DHA) and the results were pretty amazing!

Among those who received the placebo, 27.5% experienced a psychotic episode during the 12-week trial, but in those taking the fish oil supplement only 4.9% progressed to psychosis. What’s more, the fish oil group experienced reduced symptoms and improved functioning overall. 

Hearing this, it’s really no surprise that Omega-3 fish oils are one of the most researched—and most recommended—nutritional supplements. Decades of studies have proven their benefit for heart and brain health, immunity, better digestion and more, but this was the first trial to look at the benefits of fish oil in people with a high risk of developing psychosis, a debilitating condition. 

Further studies are planned that will look at the use of fish oil compared to using conventional medications to treat a variety of disorders. Why is this so important? Because a lot of those medications come with adverse side effects that aren’t found in fish oil, and those side effects can be especially harmful in young people.

Just another reason to love your Omegas!!

Wed 6/23 on the Poop Scoop: The Gut/Brain Connection – Anxiety, Depression and Addiction

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/22/2010


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!

Spread the Word

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/21/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – Ever try to give someone a little nudge in the right direction regarding their dietary habits? Chances your helpful advice wasn’t received very well. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people can get pretty defensive if they feel like they’re being criticized, but sometimes just changing the way we say things can make a big difference—especially if what you’re suggesting has brought positive results in your own situation.

So how can you tell people about the natural diet and lifestyle tips that have helped you live healthier without seeming like a pushy know-it-all? Here are a couple simple tips:

  • Share your own experience. If they see how something worked for you, friends and family members may be more likely to listen and follow your advice.
  • Try not to use the word “should,” as in “You should exercise more.” or “You shouldn’t eat that anymore.” Because really, who likes to be told what to do? Not me!
  • Meet the person where they are at. You may have to start slowly and earn your listener’s trust, taking into consideration their current habits and offering up information that they can use easily. 
  • Offer resources. This is so important! Point them to a good book or even a helpful blog (hint, hint), and let them decide to take those important first steps all on their own.

 So have a great day everyone, and here’s to living healthier!

Are Your Love Handles Getting to Your Brain?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/19/2010


It’s no secret that being overweight or obese can have a pretty big impact on your health. Just pick up a magazine, listen to the news, or jump on the Internet, and study after study shows that an unhealthy body weight can lead to some pretty serious health conditions—like diabetes, heart disease and liver disease, just to name a few.

In the past, a lot of people died from obesity-related illnesses, and even today many people continue to die from them, but thanks to advances in medical science, more obese and overweight individuals are living longer lives. And while yes, this is a good thing, it also means that a lot more older folks will be dealing with serious health conditions—and one of those has to do with the brain.

A recent study found that people who had a higher body mass index (BMI) at midlife had lower cognitive ability (thinking, learning, memory, etc.) and faster cognitive decline than thinner people. And it wasn’t just men or women—the same results were seen in both sexes.

Ask any middle-aged to older person these days what their worst fear is, and most likely the answer will be, “Losing my mind.” Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s always time to begin a new health journey! Starting today, turn over a new leaf—for your body and your mind—and begin to take those small and important steps toward achieving a healthy body weight.

Study Finds Lead in Kids’ Juices and Packaged Fruit Products

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/17/2010


Is it just me, or is it harder and harder these days to make sure our kids are eating healthy? Especially when new studies like the one I just read about can make even the most health-conscious parents think twice about what they’re putting on the table.

Recently the California-based non-profit Environmental Law Foundation tested over a hundred different fruit juices and packaged fruit products for kids, and what they found was that many of those products contained lead—a toxic metal that can cause severe developmental and behavioral problems in young children, along with hearing and kidney damage, poor muscle coordination, and more.

For the majority of the products tested, an individual serving contained lead above the recommended daily limit for young children (0.5 micrograms, per the FDA), and that’s just one serving! Of course, experts like those at the Children’s Environmental Health Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics are now saying that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children, something I agree with whole-heartedly.

What’s more, a lot of the products tested and found to contain lead are those you might not expect, including many organic and natural brands like Hansen’s Natural Apple Juice and Full Circle Organic Bartlett Pear Slices. And it’s not like it says it on the label either! Which means most of the time no matter how vigilant parents are, lead and other toxins can make their way into our children’s food without us even knowing about it.

So where do we go from here? Well, ELF plans to continue its research and hopes that by involving California’s attorney general it will get companies to step up their processing methods and hopefully eliminate lead from their products. In addition, experts from the Center for Science in the Public Interest will continue to investigate why some products contain lead and some manufacturers manage to avoid it entirely, which means taking a look at the crops as well as the individual manufacturing processes. Not soon enough, I say!

Hmm, What to Eat?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/16/2010


Do you ever open up your refrigerator and feel completely uninspired by what’s inside? Like you’re sure there’s something you can make, but ugh, you’re just not feeling it, you know? So then you head over to the pantry, but still no inspiration! What’s the solution? Check this out!

Supercook.com is a really cool website where you can actually enter the ingredients you have in your fridge, pantry, whatever—and they’ll pull recipes from different websites to find something you can make with those ingredients! How easy is that?? No more running to the store for extra ingredients, no more last-minute scrambling… just a delicious meal made with what’s right there at your fingertips!

Of course, that’s not to say that if you enter “sardines” and “pickles” you’ll come up with much, but you should be able to find some great recipes with what you have on hand. Now let’s start cooking!