• 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!

  • Blog
  • Shop

Summer Diet Reboot

Filed in Adults, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Preventable Issues, Recipes, Supplements, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/21/2017


summer diet reboot-brendawatson.com

When the weather starts warming up in spring, we get inspired to lose a few pounds so that we’ll look great when it’s time to get into a swimsuit. But that plan often goes awry when summer begins. Longer days bring vacations and celebrations—and extra opportunities to eat enticing treats (often sweet) that pack on weight. Next thing you know, those five or ten pounds are right back where they started. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time for a summer diet reboot to get you back into your bikini.

 

Cut the Carbs, Up the Fiber to Kick Off your Summer Diet Reboot!

It’s not the first time you’ve heard me say that carbohydrates—starchy carbs and sugars, in particular—are the main reason your waistline is expanding. If you had to do just one thing to lose weight, that’s where I’d recommend you start. Plan your meals around healthy proteins and low-sugar vegetables. (And no, potatoes and corn are not vegetables—they’re starches!)

Eat a vegetable egg scramble for breakfast, a salad topped with chicken for lunch, and a salmon filet with a side of green veggies for dinner. Eat high-protein snacks in between meals to keep your cravings down. If you’re in a hurry, a high-protein, high-fiber meal replacement shake will keep you going without cravings.

 

Nurture Your Gut

If your gut bacteria are out of balance, they could be making you fat. (I wrote a whole book on this topic. If you haven’t read The Skinny Gut Diet yet, check it out.) Good health begins in the gut. If you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, in your gut, your health—even your weight—could be affected. Eat foods rich in probiotics, like low-sugar yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables, as well as foods rich in prebiotics, like leeks, garlic, onions, and asparagus. You can also take probiotic and prebiotic supplements to replenish good gut bacteria.

 

Prepare for Parties

Summertime is fun time. You will likely attend at least a couple parties before summer is over. And if parties feel like an open invitation to eat whatever delicious morsel you encounter, you’ll want to come prepared. Before you leave for your next party, be sure to eat a high-fiber snack or meal replacement shake to fill you up so those tasty treats won’t look so appetizing.

Parties usually come with two drink options: water or sugary libations. Unless you’re sure you can make it through a whole party on water alone, I recommend bringing a low-sugar option. I love mixing carbonated water with a splash of pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime. Fill up a pitcher and bring some to share. You could also brew a refreshing herbal tea and bring a pitcher on ice.

If the party is sure to offer beer or sugary margaritas, you can bring a low-sugar option. Create a delicious mojito by mixing six ounces of club soda, six ounces of lime juice, three tablespoons of crushed mint, and six servings of liquid stevia together in a pitcher before you leave. At the party, add 12 ounces of white rum and pour over ice. Salud!

 

Get Moving

If you have fallen out of the habit of exercising, now is a great time to get back in gear. Regular exercise not only helps to keep you trim, it puts you in a good mood. Even a moderate walk can change your outlook. You don’t have to take on a complicated workout schedule, but you do need to get your body moving on a regular basis. Take a walk around the block after dinner. Skip the elevator and take the stairs next time you get the opportunity. Grab a set of weights and pump some iron when you need a break. Better yet, grab a workout buddy so that you can motivate each other and have some accountability.

 

Connect with Your WHY

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to stick with a new habit is to remember WHY you want to adopt it in the first place. So to motivate yourself to lose weight, think about why. Sure, you want to look good in a swimsuit, but dig a little deeper. Most likely you’ll find that you want to be healthier. And why do you want to be healthier? It might be so that you can live longer to spend time with the people in your life who mean the most to you. Or you may want to not be reliant on medications, or on other people to take care of you, as you get older. Or you may simply want to feel good again.

Once you discover the underlying reason why you want to lose weight, keep it in mind. Maybe you post a picture of your family on the fridge. Maybe you post a picture of you when you were healthier next to your computer. Maybe you post the phrase, “I feel amazing!” as the screen saver of your phone. Whatever your reason, connect to it when you can. It will keep you on the right track.

How to Keep Your Kids (and Dogs) Calm During Summer Travels

Filed in Adults, Children, Diet, Digestive Health, Dogs - Pets, Preventable Issues, Sleep, Stress, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/13/2017


summer travels - brendawatson.com

Summer is setting in, and that means, for most of us, it’s time for travel. There is no doubt, traveling is a stressful event for most people. Even if your kids are excited about going on a big adventure, the disruption to routine that comes along with travel is enough to throw off even the most cheerful children. Whether you are planning a road trip or taking a flight to your destination of choice, you’ll want to do all you can to make sure your kids stay as calm as possible. And if you’re bringing a pet (or pets!), I’ll drop a couple tips to keep your fur babies calm too. Implement my tips below to keep your little ones, furry or not, calm and collected during your next summer trip.

 

Set Yourself Up for Success with Adequate Sleep

Travel preparation begins long before you load up the car or step foot into the airport. You may have noticed that the days and even weeks leading up to your trips are packed with extra to-dos and stress, and as a result, not enough sleep. It’s likely your kids are also affected. They feel the added stress and may be losing sleep along with you. If there’s one thing that’s sure to foster extra fussiness in your kids, it’s lack of sleep.

Make it a priority to adhere to your child’s normal sleep schedule in the days leading up to your vacation. That extra hour of sleep your child gets the three nights before vacation can make or break her mood when it matters most. Make this a non-negotiable. If that means you need to start planning your trip a few days sooner than usual, make it happen.

Not as easy, but doable, is the sleep your child gets during the vacation itself. You don’t have to be the time keeper every single night, but for two or three nights before your departure, if you get your kids to sleep on time, your chances of sailing smoothly through your six-hour flight will be greatly increased. You may have to ward off a few “But mo-om!”s, but trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Don’t Forget the Role of Diet on Behavior

Did you know that what your child eats can have a huge impact on his behavior? Many parents miss this important link. If your child is naturally a handful, or even has a diagnosis of ADHD or autism, if you haven’t experimented with his diet, you’ll want to get a head start on it.

For many children, eliminating foods that your child may be sensitive to, like, gluten, dairy, sugar, and even corn, soy, or peanuts, can work wonders on improving behavior.

I’ve heard countless success stories, and read studies that back this theory up. In the weeks or months leading up to your vacation, cutting gluten, sugar, and maybe dairy out of your child’s diet can make a big difference. You could even implement a full elimination diet, but you’ll want to do that with plenty of preparation.

If the idea of implementing an elimination diet before vacation feels like more than you want to handle, at the very least, cut the sugar. Dessert before bedtime is a sure way to interfere with her needed rest. Offer her some berries and whipped cream if she really needs a sweet treat. (It’s a low-sugar dessert, but she’ll never know.)

And if your child doesn’t regularly eat sardines and salmon, consider a fish oil supplement, which won’t work short-term, but over time, adequate omega-3 intake can make a big difference in your child’s behavior. It’s worth adding to your child’s regular supplement regimen if you haven’t already.

 

Pack the Essentials

Children are busy creatures. They jump from activity to activity all day long. Sitting in a car or on a plane for hours at a time is not a normal day for a child. To combat their restlessness, you can pack some essentials to keep them occupied.

First, be sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks. Relying on vending machines is a recipe for disaster. A nourished, hydrated child will have two less reasons to get irritable. Pack healthy snacks that are not high in sugar. Nuts, granola, apples, and yogurt are great options to hand out every couple hours. And keep plenty of water on hand. Sugary beverages are the last thing you want your child to fill up on while traveling. You don’t want to deal with the repercussions of a sugar high or a sugar low.

If you think that I am going to recommend loading a few movies in your tablet to keep your kids calm, think again. Sure, you might be able to lull your kids into a daze with the screen, but their reliance on this method is sure to backfire on you later. Instead, why not download a fun-filled audio book or two? Your child can listen while still engaging with the world around her. Her imagination will be stimulated while she sits quietly, engrossed in a thought-provoking story.

You can also pack some activity books to keep your children occupied—and their minds working. And for older kids on road trips, set them up with a camera and ask them to take pictures of your journey. Maybe they catch a nice shot of your family in the car, or of the mountains as you pass by them. Activities like these are perfect for avoiding that confused look your children give you after peeling themselves away from too many hours of screen time.

 

Bach Flower Remedies

If you haven’t heard of Back Flower remedies, you’re in for a treat. Their line of flower essences are perfect for travel time. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, in particular, is one product I don’t leave home without. It’s perfect for bringing calm to stressful situations. Bach flowers work on an energy level to rebalance emotional states. And these mild products are completely safe, even for babies and pets.

 

Don’t Forget Fido

Does your dog hate to travel? If a car or airplane ride is the last place your dog wants to be, you are not alone! You’ll want to try Vital Planet’s CALM for dogs. Formulated with nutraceuticals, herbs, and flower essences, CALM supports calmness and relaxation in dogs experiencing anxiousness and stress. The product comes in tasty chewable tablets or powder that you can mix into food or water.

Next post I’ll take a look at your Summer Diet Reboot!

Eliminate Hidden Toxins in Your Body – the Natural Way!

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Environmental Toxins, Herbal Cleansing, Preventable Issues, The Detox Strategy, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/09/2017


eliminate - happy liver - brendawatson.com

Step 2 of the RENEW Total Body Detox program is aimed at eliminating toxins that have accumulated inside your body for years. Eliminate represents the first “E” in RENEW.

Many people ask “How do I know I am toxic?” Here are some simple questions that might indicate the presence of toxins in your body.

  1. Have you experienced a gradual loss of energy to the point that you find yourself tired and worn out by the end of the day?
  2. Has you energy level over the years decreased to the point you have developed a new accepted level of low energy that you think is normal with age?
  3. Does you skin look unhealthy, pale or chaffy?
  4. Are you experiencing changes in your mood or even depression?
  5. Have you experienced weight gain for no apparent reason?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are probably experiencing the effects of hidden toxins in your body.

Detoxification is a natural, ongoing process in the body. You are always naturally cleansing. By choosing an herbal detox program, we can enhance the body’s natural processes.

An herbal detox program could be the very solution you have been looking for in order to live your happiest and healthiest life.

The tradition of herbal cleansing has been recorded in the cultures of the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American and Asian Indians.

Unfortunately in the last 10 years many people believe they can cleanse by simply drinking a tea, shifting your food choices, or fasting. Even though it is important to clean up the diet while cleansing you need herbs and fiber to have a positive impact on your organs and create vibrant health.

I have seen miraculous health changes in people I have worked with when they choose a total body cleanse. It has changed their lives. My life absolutely changed from one of constant issues to consistently vibrant health when I focused on specific cleansing programs like the one I’ve laid out below.

The most effective detox programs use a combination of herbs that create:

  • Laxative effective to make sure the bowel is eliminating toxins that are leaving the organs.
  • Diuretic effects which increase urine flow.
  • Diaphoretic effects which induce sweating.
  • Blood purifying properties which assist in the removal of toxins from the body. Ultimately, purifying the blood is the most important aspect of detox, as the blood is the avenue which brings nutrients to all the cells, tissues and organs of the body.

 

Why Choose a Total Body Detox which combines herbs that affect the Channels of Elimination?

Your detox program should include a combination of herbs that will support your body’s channels of elimination (liver, colon, kidneys, blood, lymph, lungs, and skin and by means of several different mechanisms.

  • Liver – Herbs in the cleansing process will stimulate bile production in the liver, one of the most notable ways the liver rids the body of toxins. Once bile is stimulated by herbs, the toxins flow to the gallbladder and then the small intestine. Herbs also help prevent fat deposits in the liver. Note: fatty liver is the #1 liver problem people have today, especially if fat is present around the waist area of the body.
  • Colon – Herbs stimulate the colon to move waste along quickly. This will not cause too much elimination. It will just enhance it. By adding fiber into your detox program, once the gallbladder dumps the bile into the small intestine, soluble fiber absorbs the toxins and sends them out through the colon.
  • Kidneys – Herbs stimulate urine output. Many toxins leave through the urine, especially caffeine and nicotine.
  • Blood and lymph – Herbs stimulate circulation of blood and lymph which are both essential for cellular waste removal.
  • Lungs – Herbs promote discharge of mucus from the lungs which assists in the removal of airborne toxins.
  • Skin – Herbs promote healthy skin due to the cleansing of the bloodstream.

These benefits of Total Body Cleansing are why we all need a targeted herbal program for a specific time. Statistics show us the average person has close to 90 difference chemicals circulating in their bloodstream. That’s right, 90!

 

How do you pick a Total Body Cleansing program that is right for you?

I have worked with thousands of people who have detoxed their body with the type of herbal products I developed as a result of my decades of work.

 

Here’s a Cleanse For a First-Time Cleanser

If you have never taken an herbal cleansing formula, I recommend that you start with a Basic Total Body Cleanse. This is formulated with all the herbs you need for cleansing while providing gentle colon stimulation to assist your channels of elimination.

The formulation includes herbs which support liver health like artichoke, blessed thistle, dandelion, milk thistle, to name a few. Also included are herbs like mullein for the lungs, parsley for the kidneys, burdock for the skin.

For best results, this program should be taken for two weeks. It’s easy… 2 caps in the morning + 2 caps in the evening with a scoop of fiber. Done for the day!

 

For More Experienced/Constipated Cleanser

If you have cleansed on a regular basis or have a tendency toward constipation, are overweight, have skin problems, or lung congestion, consider a Total Body Herbal Cleanse that is more advanced and concentrated. You will cleanse for a longer period of time. I found 30 days is ideal for most people.

An Advanced Cleansing Program will have some of the same herbal combinations as the basic cleanse program but with a higher concentration of herbs.

When you look at the label on an Advanced Cleanse, in the morning formula you will see Extracts 4:1 or Extracts 5:1 instead of whole herbs. This means the herbs in this formula are more concentrated.

Once again, look for two formulas to be included in your cleansing product – one for the morning and another for the evening. The evening formula will also be stronger, meaning it will create more colon elimination. Many people require this, with more toxins leaving the body.

 

Begin Your Internal Detox Program Now.

Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced cleanser, you can now choose a specific formula that is geared to eliminating silent toxins from your body. I’ve made this program easy to follow. Believe me, it will definitely fit into your busy lifestyle.

If you missed last week’s blog on beginning your Total Body Detox program, here is a link to the article. And for even more detailed information, pick up my recent book Detox Strategy.

Check back later this week for more practical tips on how to Eliminate toxins from your body – the natural way!

Digestive Dysfunction = Gut Gone Bad!

Filed in Adults, Cancer, Chronic Disease, Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Heart Disease, Heartburn, Immune System, Indigestion, Inflammation, Liver, Preventable Issues, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/21/2017


digestive dysfunction girl - brenda watson.com

As we move into the third week of Colon Cancer Awareness Month it’s time to discuss what can go wrong in your gut. Last week I presented a very brief overview of how a healthy gut works. This week I’d like to help you recognize signs of digestive dysfunction. The result is multiple disease processes like constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, myriad chronic health conditions and even cancer.

However there is one critical point I must make, and I can’t stress this too strongly. In my 30+ years of working closely with people experiencing all levels of digestive issues, I have seen far too many cases of colon cancer. The unfortunate thing I’ve noticed time and again was this – when a person was diagnosed with colon cancer – they thought they had healthy digestion! Needless to say, they were floored by the diagnosis. When I questioned them further, I might hear “I had a little indigestion here and there” or “sometimes I was constipated”. Often they didn’t notice anything that might have tipped them off to a life-threatening situation brewing inside them.

That’s why it’s so important to truly understand and appreciate what really happens in your own body to do with digestion and absorption. The colon can be very quiet for a long time as disease smolders within. I believe this knowledge has fueled my passion to continue, day after day, to implore people to recognize that their gut is literally the core of their health.

What can go wrong? Intestinal toxemia = poisoning of the intestines!

Intestinal toxemia occurs when the bacteria in the gut act upon undigested food. This interaction can produce toxic chemical and gases. These toxins, in turn, can damage the mucosal lining, resulting in increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). The net result is that the toxins are then able to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.

7 common habits that may be poisoning your intestines:

  1. Inadequate amounts of living foods and quality proteins in our dietary choices
  2. Not chewing our foods thoroughly
  3. Drinking with meals
  4. Over-consumption of processed foods (including sugar!)
  5. Overeating in general
  6. Eating foods that we know we are sensitive or allergic to
  7. Inadequate water consumption between meals resulting in low-grade dehydration

Poisoning your intestines is a process that progresses over time. The good news is that you can reverse that process by changing your behaviors.

In the words of Dr. John Matsen, ND, “If you don’t digest your food quickly, some microorganism will digest it for you, making toxins.” These toxins created inside our bodies are called “endotoxins”. I want you to know that they are every bit as damaging to your body as external environmental toxins. We call those “exotoxins”, and are very familiar with the dangers of substances like pesticides, radon or car exhaust.

If the above mentioned habits continue for an extended period of time, the certain result is an overtaxed digestive system. That happens whether you experience mild to severe digestive symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Supporting organs such as your liver and pancreas become overburdened.

Ultimately, your once healthy gut begins its downhill spiral toward altered digestive function. Diagnoses like constipation, diarrhea, IBS or even IBD, along with cardiovascular issues, hormone imbalances, arthritis, fibromyalgia – the list goes on and on. And yes, even cancer.

This is primarily how the sad tale of disease begins – and if you truly understand this, you have the power to change your story and restore your health once more!

Digestive dysfunction. Please don’t let this happen!

Some major dysfunctional results of poor habits:

  • Deficiency of HCL – disrupted protein digestion and decreased stomach pH allowing harmful organisms access to the body
  • Pancreatic insufficiency – reduced enzyme and bicarbonate secretion – inefficient digestion of foods, reduced absorption of nutrients
  • Imbalanced intestinal pH – also reduces proper food breakdown and absorption and compromises immunity

You may think I’m being overdramatic – linking almost all variations of chronic disease processes to the gut. In two words – I’m NOT! Daily more and more supporting evidence is disclosed in clinical trials that prove that your digestion – breaking down and absorbing the nutrients you intake – is absolutely essential to every function in your body.

The premise is so simple it’s unbelievable that many Americans still fail to see the relationship between what goes in their mouths and the way they feel and function. As I mentioned, I think it’s largely due to the forgiving nature of the gut. Symptoms often don’t occur until quite a large amount of damage has been done. And it also has to do with our society’s obsession with simply eliminating symptoms. Many people don’t seem to care to understand what may have been causing that discomfort in the first place. Nexium be gone!

Next post I will give you an action list of exactly what you need to do to understand and heal your gut! Until then, eat lots of living foods!

My Own Colon Awareness Story

Filed in Adults, Antibiotics, Cancer, Digestive Health, Immune System, Preventable Issues, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/07/2017


Colon Cancer Awareness Day - brendawatson.com

Since March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month I thought I would offer a series of posts this month focused on colon health. Initially, I would like to share with you some personal challenges that led me to the conclusion that your gut is the core of your health. As the truth of this concept became more and more clear to me, I became passionate about educating people on the importance of colon health. I’ve dedicated my whole career to this path, which has spanned over 25 years.

There are two occurrences I believe shaped my desire to first learn, and then teach that the colon is the reason you experience health or ultimately, disease.

The first was when I was in my mother’s womb she lost her son (my brother) at 1 year old to a colon problem. He died when his colon kinked and the doctors did not “catch it” in time. This was devastating to say the least for my mother. I believe that in many ways we absorb whatever is going on with our mother during pregnancy. I feel this made a big imprint on my thoughts even though I didn’t put this together until much later in life.

The other is that I was an unhealthy child from the start of my life. I was given an abundance of antibiotics early, which destroyed my good bacteria, impacting my digestive and immune system, leading to many health problems.

By the time I was born in 1953, antibiotics were already being widely prescribed for children. Of course there is a time and place for these prescriptions in our world. However, having multiple throat and ear infections as many children do I lived on the “pink stuff”. I am convinced those antibiotics instigated the health decline that continued well into my adult life.

By the time I was in elementary school I began to experience migraine headaches, and my hair fell out in patches all over my head. Quite embarrassing to say the least. Of course none of this was thought to have anything to do with my colon. My health conditions continued with chronic fatigue in high school and in my 20’s, hormonal issues and kidney problems.

You may say – well how was this related to your colon? I didn’t realize until I started looking into natural solutions in my 20’s that I had been severely constipated my whole life! In my family we never talked about bowel movements. No one mentioned (or knew) or that it was healthy (and important) to have at least one every day.

Screening helps to prevent colorectal cancer.

As I embarked on a path to change my diet, began to detoxify my digestive system and focus on daily elimination I began to feel better and better. This was in the 1980’s. At that time it was still considered weird to even talk about bowel movements. But as my health and vitality began to return I was convinced even back then, with little supporting scientific research, that my out of balance colon was at the core of my health issues. This proved to be true as my health continued to improve at a remarkable pace.

As a result of my own healing path, I became more aware of how many people might also enjoy better health if only they could cleanse their digestive system, restore and maintain good bacteria in their gut, and support healthy elimination. I realized that colon problems and cancer could be greatly reduced if more education and attention were put on this simple process.

My point is this – the gut is clearly the core of our health. After all, we extract the nutrients from our food that feed the cells, tissues and organs of our body in our digestive system. Think about it – every bite of food we eat, every sip of liquid we drink, goes to the gut first.

The critical question is – how do we keep our guts healthy so they continue to nourish us? No one wants to end up with colon disease!

There are a variety of tools necessary to accomplish this task. In the next few blogs I intend to arm you with simple tools that are absolutely essential to keeping your digestive system healthy.

Since March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month – what better time to do this?

Sleep More in Class, Teens Learn More. Surprise!

Filed in Adults, Heart Disease, Preventable Issues, Sleep, Teens, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/24/2017


Sleep Deprived Teen - brendawatson.com

Sleep. How great it is when we’ve rested well the night before. How distressing it can be when that just wasn’t the case. Over the years I’ve offered many tips and hints on how to grab those extra winks.

Recently I enjoyed reading a report in the Wall Street Journal about organized napping in high school. According to study after study, lack of sleep in adults reduces workplace efficiency, can lead to overeating, and recently was even associated with stress on the heart.

            Short-term sleep deprivation has now been shown to affect heart function. Read more here.

Babies and school age children tend to get the healthful sleep they need, largely because we adults are able to make sure that happens. Stress increases and circumstances shift as our youth enter high school. Studies show that our teenagers are the age group most seriously impacted by lack of sleep. It’s generally agree that 8.5 to 9.5 hours nightly are needed to optimize teen growth. Many of these youth fall very short of that goal and school start times have been associated.

How much sleep is enough? Find out.

Did you realize that in 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement for high school to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m., allowing teens to get more sleep nightly? A study of over 9,000 students was conducted that compared early and late school start times. Marked improvements in class performance as well as bettered national test scores were recorded with later arrival to school. Daily attendance improved. And here’s an unexpected stat. Car crashes by drivers 16 to 18 years old were reduced by 70% when school began later, at 8:55 as opposed to 7:35.

Inside of heightened pressure to perform for college and other activities, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe that insufficient sleep as a teenager may be associated with weight gain, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, drug use – and subsequently, poor academic performance. I’m sure you’ll agree – falling asleep in class just doesn’t bode well for a student’s future.

            Check out the CDC report.

If you parent a teen, you may be thinking “my child’s school never read that report!” Your son or daughter’s required arrival time to class is probably around 7:30. Since institutions tend to be slow to change the way things are structured, it may be by adding napping to the high school curriculum, students may find some additional winks.

Due to increased awareness of sleep teen needs, here are some great napping programs that are cropping up in schools across the country:

  • Students with good grades get a weekly first period free so they can sleep in.
  • Quiet time for students – 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each day with closed eyes, no talking. One group is actually practicing transcendental mediation!
  • The Path Program in Boston has high-schoolers spend one period each day in a special area designed with comfy chairs and yoga balls to rest and de-stress. Counselors are available to offer guidance on good sleep habits.
  • A New Mexico pilot program purchased Restworks EnergyPods through a government grant. These pods, originally designed to afford stress relief in the workplace, seem perfect for students as well. After a 20-minute session, participants report emerging rested and refreshed.

Although most sleep professionals still feel an earlier bedtime is preferred over napping, I feel hopeful when I hear about these innovative rest programs. After all, these are the young people who will be shaping our futures. I for one would like to imagine they will be clear-minded and well-rested.

Great News—Colon Cancer Incidence Decreasing

Filed in Cancer, General, Preventable Issues | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/21/2014


I love spreading the word when good news comes out. Sadly, it seems the Internet is ripe with bad news these days. Shocking headlines get more clicks, so sometimes it can feel as though bad news is all there is. Today I have some good news to help balance the onslaught of negative headlines. According to a recent report by the American Cancer Society, colon cancer rates have dropped 30 percent in the United States in the last 10 years. That’s great news, for sure.

The researchers attribute the decrease to the increase in screening colonoscopies, particularly in older adults. Only 19 percent of adults aged 50 to 75 got colonoscopies in 2000 compared to 55 percent in 2010. That’s an impressive increase. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and also the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Because colon cancer develops slowly, screening for colon polyps with routine colonoscopy is one of the best ways to protect against its advancement.

Experts call for an even further decrease, however. “These continuing drops in incidence and mortality show the lifesaving potential of colon cancer screening; a potential that an estimated 23 million Americans between ages 50 and 75 are not benefitting from because they are not up to date on screening,” said Richard Wender, MD, Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society.

If you are age 50 or over and you haven’t yet scheduled your colonoscopy, do so today—and every 10 years thereafter unless your doctor tells you that you need more frequent screening. Sure, colonoscopies aren’t exactly a walk in the park, but they save lives. Schedule yours today.

 

World Health Organization’s Recommendations to Cut Sugar Intake in Half Aren’t Enough

Filed in Chronic Disease, Diet, Preventable Issues, Sugar | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/11/2014


In a new dietary proposal, the World Health Organization (WHO) is advising that sugar intakes drop from 10 percent of total calories to 5 percent. They base their recommendations on two papers that found added sugars increase body mass index (BMI), and diets that reduce added sugar consumption to less than 5 percent reduce dental cavities.

“There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain, and increased risk of non-communicable diseases [chronic disease].” The recommendation has not officially accepted but is in the proposal state.

I applaud the WHO for tightening up their recommendations on added sugar intake. Reducing sugar intake is a step in the right direction. But honestly, I believe that added sugar has no place in a healthy diet. Overconsumption of sugary foods, along with foods high in refined and starchy carbohydrates, are a major—if not the major—contributor to chronic disease. And if you have ever experienced sugar cravings (who hasn’t?), you know that there is a fine line between “just one bite” and “just ate the whole cake/pint of ice cream/box of cookies.

If you’ve checked your local grocery store lately, you will see that we have a long way to go before added sugar no longer laces many of the foods available for purchase. In the meantime, we can all make the right choices for ourselves. Read the labels of the foods you buy. Try to eat foods that are very low in sugar and that do not contain sugar (or its many derivatives) in the ingredient list.

Sugary Beverage Consumption Linked to Endometrial Cancer

Filed in Menopause, Obesity, Preventable Issues, Sugar | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/15/2014


Postmenopausal women who have a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages may be at increased risk of developing the most common type of endometrial cancer compared to women who do not drink sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The women who drank the most sugary beverages had a 78 percent increased risk of developing estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer when compared to women who drank none.

“Although ours is the first study to show this relationship, it is not surprising to see that women who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer but not estrogen-independent type II endometrial cancer,” stated Maki Inoue-Choi, PhD, MS, RD. “Obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogens and insulin than women of normal weight. Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer.”

For the study, over 23,000 women filled out detailed questionnaires about lifestyle, medical history, and diet. The group was followed for 24 years, at which point 595 women had developed endometrial cancer. “I don’t want anyone to change their behavior based on these findings,” said Inoue-Choi. “We need to do more study to confirm the association. But I would advise people to follow dietary guidelines and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.”

I agree. Our sugar consumption is through the roof, and sugary beverages make up a large portion of this consumption. Fortunately, there are many great beverages that do not contain sugar. Make the switch if you haven’t already!

Smoking and Brain Damage

Filed in Cleansing, General, Preventable Issues, Smoking, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/06/2009


[youtube Iys_4XztPlw]

Summary:
In this video blog I discuss how smoking can lead to brain damage. The National Brain Research Center has found that a chemical in tobacco called NNK provokes an exaggerated response from microglial cells in the brain. What is NNK? How does this create brain damage? Tune and in find out…

Full Script:
Need one more reason to quite those nasty cigarettes? As if lung cancer wasn’t bad enough, how about brain damage?

The National Brain Research Center recently released it’s findings that a chemical in tobacco known as NNK provokes an exaggerated response from the brain’s immune cells called microglia. What does this mean?

Well normally these microglia cells act as the destroyers for unhealthy or damaged brain cells. But when provoked by this NNK chemical in tobacco smoke these immune cells start to attack your healthy brain cells. This, over time, can lead to significant damage within the brain tissue.

I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life I’m trying to do everything possible to keep all those brain cells healthy. Unfortunately smoking is one of the most addictive habits you could have.

If you need help quitting smoking, Renew Life can help. My product called Smoker’s Cleanse has had great success. This product is a combination of three formulas. The first will help cleanse the lungs and body from the toxicity of smoking. The second is a tasty chewable tablet designed with ingredients that have an effect on the brain in reducing the cravings for cigarettes. And the third formulation is to reduce the symptoms associated with quitting, such as irritability and insomnia. Many people have used this formula to not only help cleanse their body from the effects of smoking but to help ease the difficulty associated with quitting.

I hope, for your brain’s sake, it helps you too!