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IODINE: A Lesson from Japan

There are many lessons that people can learn from cultures other than their own.

The nutrient, Iodine, embodies such a vital lesson.

The average North American consumes a mere 200 mcg of the essential Iodine nutrient everyday; yet the traditional Japanese diet rich in seaweed and seafood delivers up to a whopping 13,800 mcg daily (almost 70x the American average). So, what is the big deal? Well there is now a health crisis in North America that is largely avoidable; yet blind recommendations to avoid sodium (table salt) has led over the last 3 decades to a significant iodine insufficiency and a growing deficiency.

From 1974 to the early 1990’s iodine levels in US have dropped by 50 percent. Low iodine levels are associated with goiters, lower metabolism (get fat faster phenomena), lower IQ (did I mention lower iodine makes us more apt to make poor decisions), increased anxiety and depression, increased breast disease and possibly increased breast cancer and many experts believe increased ADD/ADHD and autism like symptoms. Clinically I find a strong correlation between low iodine and foggy thinking in at least 70 percent of my patients. And the thyroid hormone produced in your body that determines your metabolism is 100% dependent upon having this building block.

The vast majority of my patients test their iodine levels, identify whether or not they have an deficit and address their problem with immediate action. Yet, the message for this week is not done, remember when draconian measures are taken with reckless abandon there is invariably a health consequence. Warning people to stop salting their food, without considering the iodine issue has been shortsighted to say the least. In the US in the 1920’s iodine deficiency was rampant, so iodizing salt, with the infamous Morton’s Girl on the dark blue contain became a mainstay to help keep people healthy and indeed smart. When iodine levels drop, risk of numerous health conditions increases. So, in pursuit of lowering blood pressure, other risks were created. Iodine is a must for those serious about healthy living, let alone healthy aging. Using salt that has been iodized and seeking out foods rich in iodine such as seaweed and a daily supplement of iodine is a must for those serious about not waiting for a potentially life threatening deficiency symptom to show up. I encourage you to join me and embrace the dietary wisdom of the Japanese and increase your iodine intake today.

Remember to avoid becoming a health statistic, one must be proactive. Take charge of your health and the health of your loved ones today! Share the message of not only good health but of ‘vital health’.

Time to Grow-Up in our Eating Habits

This scene has played out at dinner tables for decades, where the battle began; pitting a child’s willpower against parental wisdom. You might have been one of those kids that pursed your lips and locked your jaw at the first sight of cooked lima beans, carrots, or slimy looking peas.

Well unfortunately here’s proof that today’s adults are just grown-up kids. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007, only 11% (yes only 11%) of Americans are consuming the recommended USDA of vegetables and fruits!

Well it is finally time for all of us to grow-up and embrace the produce section of the grocery store and create healthy, long-lasting and loving relationships, with various shades of green, yellow, orange and red produce. The evidence is absolutely clear that premature aging can not only be warded off, it can often be reversed, if we all just crank-up our veggies and other sources of powerful antioxidant supplements.

So, it is time for mature minds to prevail. The battle now is not with mom or dad at the dinner table, it is with your desire to be well and flourish. There is no excuse not to re-explore what your taste buds may now find to be surprisingly good.

It is a sad state of affairs when the government is forced to spend millions of our own dollars to promote changes in our eating habits, trying to save a broken healthcare system. Remember, it is very simple – you are in fact what you eat, from your head to your feet.

Sunlight and Vitamin D

In another short sighted health recommendation, the world’s health authorities have been warning all of us to avoid the sun in fear of getting skin cancer. A reasonable recommendation for protecting the skin, yet with increased sedentary lifestyles and use of SPF sunscreens, we are now suffering a worldwide epidemic of overt vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency leading to increased risks of all kinds of cancers ranging from prostate, breast and colon or lowered immunity, heighten risk for autoimmunity.

The bottomline is that we must all realize that when health advice is given in an across the board manner, that we as health consumers must still use common sense to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The concept of avoiding the sun in totality and/or wearing an SPF of 15 that blocks 99% of UV vitamin D producing and to think that there would be no health ramifications is equivalent to stopping water consumption in fear of contamination and not wondering if there will be a need to address the long term consequences of such a decision.

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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