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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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Start Walking, America!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/29/2010


“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. This week we’re talking about walking!

Okay, confession time: How many times have you circled a parking lot in search of the spot closest to the front of the store? Or taken the escalator when you could have easily taken the stairs? Believe me, I’m guilty too—sometimes my days are so busy that I just want to get where I’m going as quickly as possible, but the reality is we just aren’t walking as much as we should—and it can have a pretty big impact on our health.

They did a study recently at the University of Tennessee that compared people in the U.S. to folks in other countries, and guess what they found? Americans average only about 5,100 steps a day, compared with other countries like Australia and Switzerland where people average more than 9,550 steps daily—or even Japan where they average about 7,200 steps each day. And not only that, but American men are outwalking the women by about 400 steps a day, so I say let’s get moving!

Even if you don’t like to exercise, walking is a really easy way to improve your health, and it’s something the whole family can get involved in. Experts say just 30 minutes a day three to five times a week provides countless benefits for the whole body, including heart health, weight loss and so much more. This week, do your best to add more steps to your day, whether you start parking farther away, add in a brisk walk during your lunch break, or even walk the dog instead of just letting him out in the yard. As your steps add up, so will the health benefits.

Nobody Beats Ultimate Flora Probiotics!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/26/2010


ReNew Life’s popular CleanseSMART™ has been the #1 internal cleanse for seven years running. Now their award-winning line of Ultimate Flora probiotics is also ranking above all other probiotics! SPINS, a research firm that provides quantifiable information on natural product sales in retail outlets, confirmed that ReNew Life Formulas is the top seller in the probiotics category in health food stores across the country in the last 52 weeks!

It comes right in time for my new PBS special The Road To Perfect Health, which explains how probiotics balance the gut and heal the body. What I like about Ultimate Flora probiotics are the high-culture count, clinically studied multi-strain formulas with enteric capsules for targeted delivery. Plus there are no artificial ingredients or unnecessary fillers, just like all ReNew Life supplements. Probiotics are a cornerstone of good health and are key to proper overall digestive function because they help maintain the right balance of good gut flora in the digestive tract, and help keep you regular, energetic and feeling great!

So next time you’re looking for a probiotic, go with the winner – Ultimate Flora probiotics from ReNew Life!

Watch My New PBS Show Nationwide Starting this Month!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/24/2010


Folks, I can’t tell you how excited I am that in just a few days my new PBS special, The Road to Perfect Health, will begin airing nationwide. It’s been such a long but rewarding journey to bring all the elements of this new show together, and I’m so happy to finally be able to share the message of vibrant health with audiences all across America.

So many people in our lives are suffering—waking up every day with problems like poor digestion, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain and so much more—but it doesn’t have to be that way. The secret to a healthy body begins with a healthy digestive system, and the information in The Road to Perfect Health will teach you all about what’s going on inside your gut and why it’s so important to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

Join me and together we’ll look at the trillions of good bacteria living inside your gut that help your body absorb nutrients, defend against toxins, fight off illness and disease, and yes, even help with problems like constipation, irritable bowel and other digestive issues. Those good-for-you bacteria are called probiotics, and they’re the key to a strong Gut Protection System—or GPS for short!

Just like the GPS in your car, all those good bacteria in your gut help keep you on the path to better health. But what happens when your GPS isn’t working right? You can get lost, and just like getting lost on the road, we sometimes lose our way on the road to better health and end up stuck in a rut of illness and poor digestion.

I hope you’ll tune this month and through December to learn the secret to rebuilding your health from the inside out. It’s time to balance your gut and heal your body!

Juice once to enjoy all week long!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/22/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – This week’s weekly challenge is perfect for the upcoming holidays as a way to keep your weight in check, and your body energized!

Fresh fruit and vegetable juice is full of phytonutrients that nourish the body head to toe. But if you have a vegetable juicer, you know that it can be a time-consuming process to make juice everyday. Here’s a great tip that can help you reap the benefits of the hundreds of nutrients found in fruits and veggies, without having to take 30 minutes out of every day!

You’ll still have to commit to juicing, but only once every week or two. Buy a huge batch of fresh fruits and veggies. Try to get a rainbow of variety. And don’t forget those leafy greens and detoxifying cruciferous veggies like kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Go ahead and make a large portion of juice. Drink some right away, and save the rest to freeze in individual servings. You can even pour some into ice cube trays and add those to smoothies as you go.

It’s the next best thing to fresh, as many nutrients are conserved when frozen. And if you don’t have time to juice everyday, it’s a delicious way to get those nutrients in.

Yum!

It’s in the Air You Breathe

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/19/2010


We all know air pollution is bad for you. That’s a fact. But it can be hard to determine just how bad it really is. There have been many studies that link air pollution to harmful health effects. Recently, a strong link between diabetes and air pollution was found, even at air pollution levels that are lower than the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety limit.

Previous studies in animals have linked insulin resistance (a major component of type 2 diabetes) and inflammation (a trigger for insulin resistance) with exposure to air pollution particles. In another recent study, air pollution was linked to breast cancer development. Specifically, post-menopausal breast cancer was found to be highest in places that were most polluted and lower in places that were least polluted. No big surprise there.

While knowledge of the air pollution link to diabetes and breast cancer is relatively new, it has been known for a while that air pollution contributes to the development of asthma. In yet another recent air pollution-related story, it was found that air pollution exposure suppressed the immune system’s regulatory T cells. This suppression lowered lung capacity and worsened asthma symptoms. This is a hallmark study because of the difficulty of tracing negative health effects directly back to air pollution. Further, this study shows that air pollutants do not simply irritate the lungs, but interfere with the complex immune system and can have more far-reaching effects than asthma.

While it can be difficult to avoid the thousands of toxins we come into contact each day, there is something you can do to minimize their effect on your body. Maximizing our health by avoiding toxins when possible, eating well, and supporting the body’s detoxification process can help to minimize harmful effects of pollution.

Holiday Survival Guide—The Gallbladder Challenge

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 11/17/2010


Most surgeons on call on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day are not surprised when they get called into the ER to see a patient with right upper abdominal pain and tenderness radiating through to the back. There are also no surprises when an abdominal ultrasound shows a dilated gallbladder, possibly with a thickened wall, and gallstones ranging from the size of a pebble to the size of a marble or even an egg. At this point, the appropriate next step would be laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or removal of the gallbladder. This is one of the most common surgical procedures in the Western world today.

So how does a person find themselves in the operating room on Thanksgiving night? First of all, it didn’t just happen all at once. Gallstone formation takes months or even years. It is believed that low-fiber, high-cholesterol diets high in processed starchy foods contribute to the formation of cholesterol stones. Over-consumption of fatty and fried foods and refined sugar, as well as inadequate intake of vitamins B, C and E, are also factors thought to contribute to gallstone formation. Inadequate water intake and lack of exercise also play a role.

With the above diet, a bacterial imbalance in the gut will develop. The effect in the gut of this imbalance will be increased intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut). As a result of leaky gut, more toxins are delivered to and processed by the liver. These toxins are sent from the liver to the gallbladder, where they are stored and concentrated along with the bile, which can lead to gallstones.

So how do the holidays fit into this? Very simply – a large meal high in fat and sugar will release the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) from the duodenum (upper small intestine). CCK triggers the gallbladder to begin contracting and may move the stones into the cystic duct (which drains into the common duct and then into the duodenum) causing gallbladder obstruction, swelling, more inflammation, and severe right upper quadrant pain.

Many people do not realize they have gallstones. They may go years without symptoms and only discover the gallstones in an emergency room visit such as I described above. Other people do experience periodic attacks and are able to recover from them and choose not to have surgery. In either case, it’s prudent to take extra care at major holiday meals. A combination of gravy, ham, buttery mashed potatoes, candied yams and alcohol, followed by pumpkin pie and ice cream is the perfect recipe for a gallbladder stress test. The following recommendations could help you avoid that ER visit this holiday season:

• Eat smaller portions of any high fat, high-sugar foods
• Chew thoroughly
• Eat slowly, taking the time to enjoy the meal and company
• Take digestive enzymes with the meal
• Limit alcohol consumption

Most importantly, as a preventative measure, follow up with a high-fiber, plant-based, antioxidant-rich diet low in processed foods and saturated fats, fried foods and sugar. In addition to getting regular excise and having regular bowel elimination to reduce toxins, it is important to have a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria. This can be achieved by eating fermented foods (which are naturally high in beneficial bacteria) and taking high-quality probiotic supplements every day.

Welcome Dr. Leonard Smith to Our Online Community!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/16/2010


Great news, folks! My long-time friend and colleague Dr. Leonard Smith will soon be joining our online community with regular guest blog posts about important topics like gut health, nutrition, colon hydrotherapy, natural detoxification and more. And who better to give us advice about keeping our bodies and our digestive systems in good shape?

Dr. Smith has spent his career helping people live healthier through things like good digestion and diet, and he is a true mentor and an inspiration to me. He spent many years as a gastrointestinal surgeon before beginning his own successful private practice, and his knowledge of natural healing therapies is both impressive and inspiring. I have had the privilege of working side by side with Dr. Smith while writing several of my books, and I’m so excited he’ll soon be joining us here on brendawatson.com. Welcome, Dr. Smith!

Is Your Night Light Making You Fat?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/15/2010


“Renew You” Challenge – Let’s start this week off right! This weekly challenge (I mean, opportunity!) can help set you off on the right foot for bringing health to this week and the many to follow. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us!

A recent study from the National Academy of Sciences found evidence that animals sleeping with a dim light increased weight gain 50 percent more than if they slept in darkness. They found that exposure to dim light during sleep resulted in a different eating schedule that led to weight gain.

Sleeping in complete darkness is required for optimal sleep because dark triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that helps regulate the circadian rhythm (sleep cycle). Light exposure at night—even a dim one like street light coming through the window, or a computer light—can interfere with melatonin release, leading to insomnia.

Now researchers think light exposure during sleep could also disturb eating habits, ultimately leading to weight gain. In April one of my Renew You Challenges was to darken your room to improve sleep, and in July I blogged about how skipping out on sleep can make you fat. I want to pose that challenge again because adequate sleep is so important.

So if you didn’t take the challenge back in April, or if you’re new to the blog, pay attention to your sleeping environment. Shut off all lights, and get some thick curtains if outside lights are shining in. Is a light coming through under your door? Find it and turn it off. (Better yet, you’re conserving energy too!) This will help you sleep better, and it may also help you avoid unwanted pounds.

Hats off to Nutraceutix for building a “better mousetrap.”

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/12/2010


Our friends at Nutraceutix were just honored with the 2010 Technology Innovation of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan, a global research firm that recognizes best-in-class practices and achievements in many industries. They won for their patented LiveBac process, which when combined with Bio-tract® delivery system, helps ensure that Renew Life’s FloraSMART™ line of probiotics are delivered right to the intestines where they are most effective.

Why the standing ovation? Well, probiotics are only effective if they can withstand the harsh conditions in the stomach to be absorbed in the intestines. Once in the intestines, they can help replenish helpful bacteria as well as strengthen immunities and support overall digestive health. Bio-tract technology is an advanced delivery system that creates a protective natural gel around each probiotic caplet to protect it from gastric acid, thus delivering more active probiotic cultures to the intestines over an optimal time frame.

And that means better overall digestive health! After all, 70 percent of the body’s immune defenses reside in the intestines. If the probiotics can’t make it there, they can’t do much good. If delivered intact where they can work their magic in the intestines, they can lead to optimal digestion, bowel regularity, and overall well being.

Hats off to Nutraceutix for building a better way to manufacture and deliver probiotics. Renew Life and our millions of customers thank you daily!

Hooray for Bacteria!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/10/2010


Okay, so maybe it isn’t a headline you expect to see very often, but lately things are changing, and I say they’re definitely changing for the better. More and more people are becoming aware of the vast numbers of microscopic bacteria living inside their bodies, and a whole new field of science has emerged to study the literally trillions of microorganisms that grow and thrive inside us—helping us do everything from digesting our food to boosting our immune defenses and protecting us against illness and disease.

To help you get an idea of just how important these bacteria are, consider this: In the human body there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells. Just think about that for a second—it means that roughly 90% of our genetic makeup is microbial. Whoa! I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty amazing that something we can’t even see can be such an important part of who we are.

In the gut especially, there are about 100 trillion bacterial cells. Some are good, some are bad, and some are neutral, but the key is making sure you always have more good than bad (somewhere around 80% to 20%), because the good guys—called probiotics—help to nourish and protect not just your digestive tract, but your whole body.

In just the last few years scientists have made some pretty amazing discoveries about the role of probiotics in human health, and studies show that taking a daily probiotic supplement can help with digestive conditions such as irritable bowel, diarrhea and constipation, as well as aid in vitamin production, weight loss, mental health, and of course building up our immune defenses by crowding out harmful, disease-causing bacteria.

So the next time you hear someone talk about bacteria, resist the urge to cringe and remember the good guys! Probiotics literally means “for life,” and no wonder. I heard this great quote the other day by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon at the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University, and it really sums it up: “Most people have this view of our encounters with microbes from the perspective of disease. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of our interactions with microbes are beneficial and are healthy.” Like I said, hooray for bacteria!