• 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).

  • About Brenda
  • Pet Health
    • Pet Health

      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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Constantly Taking Antibiotics Could Have Consequences

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/29/2010


When you hear the word “antibiotics” I’m sure a lot of you think, “Hey, those are good for me—they help me feel better when I’m sick.” Right? And yes, you’re partly right, but there’s also a dark side to using antibiotics that a lot of people either don’t know or don’t want to think about. What do I mean?

Well, did you happen to hear that recent story about an antibiotic-resistant gene making its way to the U.S. from India? So-called “superbugs” like the ones linked to the overseas gene are making people very sick, but the worst part is that the powerful antibiotics we’d normally use to get rid of them aren’t working anymore because of widespread antibiotic resistance.

And now a new study from Stanford University shows that taking antibiotics over and over again may impact our health by affecting the normal levels of bacteria in our digestive tract. Yup, that’s right—it all comes back to the gut! Because as you know, that’s where roughly 80 percent of our natural defenses are found, and it’s where literally trillions of microbes (both good and bad) exist in a delicate balance to keep us healthy.

So what this new study looked at was 1. whether or not repeated antibiotic use affected that nicely balanced bacterial colony in your gut, and 2. if and how well your gut bacteria were able to “bounce back” after each round of antibiotics. Now I’m sure you saw this coming, but the results weren’t great. The antibiotics wiped out large numbers of existing gut bacteria in all of the participants, and even though some gut populations returned to normal a few weeks after the antibiotic treatment stopped, this wasn’t the case after a second course of antibiotics. In fact, two months after the second round of treatment, gut bacteria levels still hadn’t returned to normal.

This topic is so important, and I’m really glad to see that it’s starting to get so much attention. When I say everything is connected to the gut, I REALLY mean it, especially now that all these new studies are finding that an out-of-balance gut can contribute to everything from digestive problems and weight gain to allergies, arthritis and yes, even chronic disease. So it’s time to pay attention—take a proactive stance when it comes to your health, and make sure you really need that antibiotic before you take it!

Eat Your Way to Better Digestion

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/27/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – Be a part of my Weekly Challenge to help set you off in the right direction for bringing health to your week. So this week I wanted to challenge the way you eat. 

Heartburn, indigestion, gas and bloating. At one time or another you’ve probably experienced a bout of post-meal discomfort that had you thinking, “What on earth did I eat that just isn’t sitting right??” Well, guess what? You were on the right track.

Most of the time things like heartburn and upset stomach can be prevented just by being choosy about what we put on our plate, since a lot of foods have natural components that can help our digestive system do its job. That’s right—Mother Nature knew what she was doing, folks!

Yogurt and cottage cheese, for example, contain probiotics that help keep your digestive system in balance and promote regularity, and so do fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.

Raw fruits and veggies contain powerful enzymes that work to break down all kinds of foods like carbohydrates, fats, sugars, and dairy foods, and they also help your body absorb nutrients. Papaya and pineapple, for example, contain an enzyme called papain that is especially helpful for digesting protein in the diet.

And—no surprise here—fiber is also important for healthy digestion. A good blend of soluble and insoluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts helps keep food moving through your intestines and promotes regular, healthy bowel movements.

So this week I want you to really pay attention to your meals and try to choose foods that benefit your digestive system rather than those that work against it. Steer clear of high-fat, sugary and processed foods, and load up on easy-to-stomach foods like fresh produce, whole grains, and probiotic-rich yogurt and fermented foods—your belly will thank you!

Beef for Dinner? Think Again.

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/24/2010


When’s the last time you really thought about where that steak on your plate came from? Or how that juicy burger ended up on your grill in the first place? If you’re like most people (and believe me, I’ve been guilty of this too) you’d rather remain in the dark when it comes to how your food—especially your meat—is raised and processed, but a recent USA Today article may just have you reconsidering.

The article, which focused on how our country’s beef supply is inspected, stated that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, “is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for…dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce.”

Concerning? Absolutely. Shocking? Not necessarily. The reality, folks, is that the testing of U.S. beef for harmful substances is basic at best. There are no limits set for many “potentially harmful substances,” and sometimes high levels of pesticides or antibiotics are found in the same meat you bring home for you and your family to eat. But, since no limits are set for these substances, the meat passes inspection and lands at your local grocery store.

Hopefully, the recent spotlight on our less-than-adequate meat inspection standards will bring about more awareness and a better, safer way of monitoring where our meat is coming from. In the meantime, choose organic, grass-fed beef when red meat is on the menu…and even then, only in moderation!

Five Years Younger with Omega-3s

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/22/2010


Seen the headlines lately about Omega-3s? How they’re good for your heart, your immune system, and even for helping with healthy bowel function? I say it’s about time these healthy fats are getting the recognition they deserve, especially a few you may have already heard of—ALA, EPA and DHA.

ALA (alpha lipoic acid) is an essential fatty acid, which means your body can’t produce it on its own, so we have to get it through the foods we eat—like flax seeds, canola and walnuts, and even spinach, broccoli and healthy yeast products like yogurt and kefir. Your body then converts ALA into two other really important Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA.

Thanks to experts like those at the American Heart Association, we already know that EPA and DHA are good for the heart. In fact, they already recommend at least 1g of EPA and DHA daily for people with coronary heart disease. But check this out—researchers recently found a connection between the levels of DHA and EPA in the blood and cellular aging in people with coronary heart disease.

Scientists measured the length of the telomeres in cells. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, which are the structures that house your DNA. What they discovered was that the longer the telomeres, the longer the lifespan of the cell, and the longer the lifespan of the person. According to the study, folks with the highest EPA and DHA levels in their bodies had the longest telomeres, which was attributed to “approximately a difference of 5 years of life”. Wow! Pretty amazing stuff, right?

Still, I’m not surprised. More and more studies prove that Omega-3 EPA and DHA (found naturally in smaller, deep-water fish like sardines, anchovies, salmon, tuna and mackerel) provide oodles of health benefits for the whole body, but it would take a whole other blog post to list them all! Suffice to say that Omega-3s are one of the most important supplements you can take every day. Just remember to look for a high-quality supplement that’s been purified to remove toxins—and here’s to adding 5 more years to your life!

Drink Water, Lose Weight. No Kidding!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/20/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – Let’s start this week off right! Be a part of my Weekly Challenge (I mean, opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week.

Take a few seconds and think about all the ways you’ve tried to lose weight. And don’t tell me that you’ve always been good about eating right and exercising, because we’ve all been there. We’ve all struggled with the ups and downs of keeping off unwanted pounds. And if you haven’t, well, consider yourself one of the lucky ones!

For most of us, keeping our waistline in check is a constant balancing act of “Should I?” or “Shouldn’t I?” Like “Should I have a salad for lunch even though I want a burger and fries?” or “Shouldn’t I get up off the couch and work out even though I’d rather watch this show on TV?” So when I read about a recent study where all people had to do was drink a couple glasses of water before they ate in order to lose weight I thought, “Hey! I can do that! Anyone can do that!”

I’m absolutely serious, folks. Researchers at Virginia Tech found that overweight and obese men and women who drank two cups of water before each meal consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn’t. And guess what? They ate the same exact diet as those in the non-water-drinking group! And three months into the study they had lost nearly 30 percent more weight just by doing this one little thing every day.

So your challenge this week? You guessed it! Drink at least two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal, and let’s see if we can get rid of those extra pounds! Sure, it’s not some magic bullet or be-all, end-all diet miracle, but it’s simple, it’s doable, and it’s a great first step toward living healthier every day.

Bottom’s up!

Fatty Liver Strikes Again!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/18/2010


NAFLD, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is one health condition that’s really making its mark. Affecting nearly 70 million Americans every year, NAFLD occurs when there’s a buildup of excess fat in the liver, which can set the stage for even bigger problems like long-term liver damage and heart disease. So if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with NAFLD, it’s time to listen up!

NAFLD is like an early warning signal that says, “Look out! Danger ahead!” The problem, though, is that NAFLD is often a silent threat. You can’t feel fat accumulating in the liver—it’s usually only discovered when testing for another illness. Increased liver enzymes are the first sign of NAFLD, but because other liver problems can also result in raised liver enzymes, those have to be ruled out first.

So what’s the best way to avoid NAFLD? A healthy diet. Steer clear of the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is loaded with heavily processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods, and step up your intake of fresh fruits and veggies. Eat more fiber, eliminate refined sugars and carbs (including white flour and white rice), add more whole grains and Omega-3s, and avoid saturated and trans fats.

My H.O.P.E. Formula is a great start, since good digestion is just as important as a healthy diet when it comes to keeping your liver—and your whole body—in tip top shape. Just follow this simple, 4-part plan every day: High fiber (at least 35g daily), Omega-3s (2,000mg or more daily), Probiotics (at least 6 billion CFU daily), and digestive Enzymes (with every meal).

Ohio Residents: Join Me on Sept. 23 for a Free Digestive Health Lecture!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/17/2010


When your digestive system is out of balance, your health can suffer. And I’m not just talking about typical tummy issues like gas and bloating, constipation and irritable bowel, but all kinds of problems like fatigue, weight gain, skin problems and even anxiety. That’s right folks—everything is linked to your gut!

Want to know more? Join me on September 23rd at Health Foods Unlimited in Centerville, Ohio for a free digestive health lecture. I’m going to be talking about the link between a properly functioning digestive system and a healthy body—including the natural supplements that are essential for helping you look and feel your best every day. Plus, if you’re one of the first 50 people to attend, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of my book Gut Solutions. See you there!

WHEN:

6:30-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23rd

WHERE:

Health Foods Unlimited

2250 Miamisburg Centerville Road

Centerville, OH 45459

RSVP: 937-433-5100

Gluten-free, Casein-free Diet in Kids with Autism

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/15/2010


There was a study done recently that got a lot of press, and I have to say it really got under my skin. Researchers looked at the effects of a gluten-free, casein-free diet in kids with autism, and what they said was that it didn’t have any behavioral effects on them. But I thought, “No way—something isn’t right here.” And it looks like I wasn’t the only one.

Nutrition Director Kelly Barnhill from the Autism Research Institute also had some pretty interesting things to say about this particular study. Check it out:

  • First, only fourteen children participated in the study…fourteen! Common sense alone says that’s not nearly enough to make such broad conclusions.
  • Second, the kids who participated in the study didn’t even have any gastrointestinal complaints. This is a big one, since most autistic children do have digestive problems of some sort—a good sign that gluten and casein (a protein found in milk) sensitivities are involved. But the children in this study were specifically chosen because they did not have digestive complaints. What?!
  • Third, the children only followed the prescribed diet for four weeks, even though it takes at least six weeks to really get all of the gluten protein out of the body. Four weeks just isn’t enough time to call this an effective study, folks.
  • And finally, the diet the children followed wasn’t even 100% gluten- and casein-free. This is important because some kids are sensitive to even the smallest amounts of gluten, so strict adherence to a gluten- and casein-free diet is absolutely necessary in order to see beneficial results.

Obviously this issue is far from over. So many parents of autistic kids report benefits after removing gluten and casein from the diet. No, it doesn’t cure autism—but it can alleviate the often debilitating digestive symptoms that these children endure, and as a result their behavior often improves. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Diet Goals – Why, not How

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/13/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – Be a part of my Weekly Challenge (I mean, opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. This week is about losing weight…

Take it from me – losing weight doesn’t have to be a struggle. (And yes, I mean that!) It’s just that too often we get caught up in all the “dos and don’ts” of dieting that we forget to simplify things and just take one step at a time. So before you skip this blog post just because it says “diet goals” in the headline, take a second to hear me out.

I read about an interesting study the other day that really made sense to me. It looked at the ways people achieve goals; specifically, it looked at what their focus was that helped them through the process, and what they found was pretty cool.

When people focused on “how” they were going to achieve their goals, they were less likely to actually achieve that goal than when they focused on “why” they wanted to achieve it. Makes sense, right? I mean be honest, do you want to think about cutting calories and exercising more, or do you want to visualize a slimmer, healthier body and maybe even fitting into your “skinny” jeans again? Now you’re starting to get the idea!

The problem is that people get so caught up in following every little detail that they end up getting frustrated and just giving up altogether, but like the study showed, when folks step back and simply focus on why they want to achieve a certain goal like weight loss (for example better health, more energy, being there for grandchild’s graduation, looking good, etc.) they are more likely to persist. 

So this week, consider a goal that you are striving towards. It could be weight loss, sticking to a gluten-free diet, even be saving a little extra money—whatever!  Take that goal and write down the reasons that you want to achieve it. Then decide on your number one reason, and spend a little time thinking about it every day. I bet it helps you achieve your goal!

Catch a Sneak Preview of My New PBS Show this Saturday

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/10/2010


Exciting news! If you live in the DC/Baltimore area, be sure to tune in to your local PBS station this Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for an exclusive one-day-only sneak preview of my NEW PBS special The Road to Perfect Health.

A lot of folks don’t realize that a healthy body begins with a healthy gut. That’s because your digestive tract is where more than 70 percent of your body’s natural defenses are found, and it’s where trillions of bacteria live in a delicate balance to help you absorb nutrients, defend against toxins, and fight off illness and disease—not to mention help with bowel regularity!

But what may surprise you is that even things you wouldn’t normally associate with digestive health—everything from anxiety, joint aches and food sensitivities to fibromyalgia and even high cholesterol—they can all start in the gut. That’s how important it is to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

Join me this weekend to learn the secret to balancing your gut and healing your body, beginning with the power of probiotics. Those are the beneficial bacteria in your intestines that help with healthy digestion and immune function, and they are the key to a strong GPS, or what I like to call your Gut Protection System. From there, I’ll give you the keys to rebuilding your health from the inside out and finally living the life you’ve always wanted. See you there!

The Road to Perfect Health will also air nationwide beginning in late November through mid-December and continue periodically in 2011 and beyond. Stay tuned to www.brendawatson.com and I’ll keep you posted!