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Health Concerns

Understanding Fats and Oils

Before the 1920s, heart disease was extremely rare in North America and other developed countries. When a young internist at Harvard University named Paul Dudley showed a German heart monitor to his fellow doctors, he was told that he best put his energy into a more profitable area of health care. This heart monitor, also known as an electrocardiogram, was able to detect blockages in the arteries that supply the heart. The problem was that heart disease was so rare that he struggled to find people who would benefit from his machine. Read more about Understanding Fats and Oils

 

The Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil

If you haven’t already read other articles that I’ve written on healthy vs. unhealthy fats and oils, you may not know that the healthiest oil that you can use on a daily basis is coconut oil.

Although coconut oil has always been a healthy food choice, its reputation suffered a great deal during the 80s and 90s when it was lumped together with other saturated fats as a cause of cardiovascular disease.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Coconut Oil May Speed Up Metabolism and Increase Energy
It’s true that 92 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated. What many people don’t know is that over two-thirds of these saturated fatty acids are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFAs are different from other varieties of saturated fatty acids in that as soon as they enter your bloodstream, they are taken to your liver where they are converted to energy. Whereas other dietary fats and even excess carbohydrates can be stored as fat in your cells, the MCFAs found in coconut oil provide an almost immediate source of energy and may actually speed up your metabolism.

Because of its potential ability to speed up metabolism, coconut oil is a good food choice for people with sluggish thyroid glands, as well as for people who find it difficult to shed unwanted weight.

The Safest Oil for Cooking
The high percentage of saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil makes it extremely stable when exposed to heat. Unlike almost all other vegetable oils, coconut oil contains virtually no trans fats, and is highly resistant to free radical formation when used for cooking at high temperatures. No other oil comes close to being as safe and healthy for cooking as coconut oil.

Coconut Oil May Help Those with Digestive Problems
Many people who have suffered with inflammatory conditions of the intestines like Crohn’s disease have successfully used coconut oil for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Coconut oil's ability to help improve the balance of microorganisms in the intestines is likely another reason why people who suffer with digestive disorders benefit from using it on a regular basis. 

A Good All-Natural Moisturizer for Your Skin
In addition to its potential healing properties for your internal health, coconut oil makes for an exceptional skin moisturizer. First of all, it doesn’t contain any of the carcinogenic chemicals that are found in many commercial moisturizers. Secondly, coconut oil is easily absorbed into your skin, where it can help to prevent free radical damage, wrinkling, and sagging.  It may even be able to restore strength to the underlying connective tissue.

To summarize, here is some of what coconut oil may do for you:

  • Improve your energy
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Reduce your risk of cancer
  • Improve your digestion and ability to absorb nutrients
  • Promote weight loss and maintenance of your ideal weight
  • Help prevent bacterial, yeast, fungal, and viral infections
  • Support and enhance your immune system
  • Help regulate your blood sugar and prevent or control diabetes
  • Help prevent osteoporosis
  • Help prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
  • Help keep your skin smooth and soft
  • Help protect against skin cancer and blemishes

Coconut oil does NOT do any of the following:

  • Does NOT contribute to heart disease
  • Does NOT contribute to weight problems
  • Does NOT increase blood cholesterol
  • Does NOT promote platelet stickiness or blood clot formation

In choosing a coconut oil for your daily needs, I recommend that you look for a source that fulfills the following guidelines for healthy virgin coconut oil:

  1. Should smell and taste like fresh coconuts
  2. Certified organic, USDA standards
  3. No hydrogenated oils / trans fats
  4. No chemicals or preservatives added
  5. Only fresh coconuts are used - no dried copra, which is used to make many other commercial coconut oils
  6. No refining, bleaching, or deodorizing
  7. No genetically modified coconuts (Non-GMO)
  8. Coconuts are from traditional palm trees only - no hybrid tress are used

For more scientific information about the properties of coconut oil, I recommend that you read Eat Fat, Lose Fat: Lose Weight And Feel Great With The Delicious, Science-based Coconut Diet, by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig. Read more about The Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil

 

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fats and Oils

After graduating from chiropractic school, I made my way to a small Inuit village at the northern tip of Alaska to begin my first practice as a chiropractor. One of the most impressive memories I have of my time in northern Alaska was watching the natives haul a 20-foot whale onto the beach and divide the “muktuk” (whale blubber) into three by three sheets, one per family. I learned that the natives chopped these sheets of whale blubber into small pieces, about the size of small grapes, to be eaten raw and sometimes dipped in seal oil. In addition to whale blubber and seal oil, the natives continued to eat traditional staples such as whale meat, caribou meat, fish, and goose meat.

My observations in rural Alaska are congruent with the studies of Weston A. Price, a Harvard-trained dentist who traveled around the world in the 1930s, visiting many indigenous populations and observing their diets and health. Dr. Price found that the foods of isolated primitive peoples contained at least ten times the fat-soluble vitamins A and D found in modern diets. He also found that all healthy populations had at least one source of animal fat and protein in their diets, such as fatty fish, wild game, organ meats, eggs, and butter. These healthy populations did not suffer from heart disease, digestive problems, cancer, or obesity at the rates that we do.

For the past twenty years, we have been encouraged to believe that saturated fats and cholesterol, both found in animal fats, are the main causes of chronic degenerative diseases. Ask the average North American what they know about saturated fat, and the majority will answer that it causes heart disease. Ask the average high school student what they know about cholesterol, and they will tell you that it is bad for you. For years, I would have answered the same. Are these views on saturated fat and cholesterol with merit?

Here are some facts about saturated fats:

  • They make up at least 50 percent of our cell membranes, providing essential rigidity and strength
  • They enhance the immune system
  • They help incorporate calcium into our bones
  • Some of them have antimicrobial properties that protect us against harmful microorganisms in our
    digestive tracts

And here are some facts about cholesterol: Read more about Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fats and Oils

 

Eating Too Much Fruit Can Be Bad For Your Health

Many of us have come to believe that eating healthier means eating lots of fruits and vegetables. While fruits and vegetables are much better for you than refined foods like cookies and chips, my experiences and research have led me to believe that too much fruit can be harmful to your health. Read more about Eating Too Much Fruit Can Be Bad For Your Health

 

Orthorexia Nervosa: The Health Food Eating Disorder

I recently came across the work of Steven Bratman, a medical doctor whose studies and experiences make him a highly regarded expert in alternative medicine. Of particular interest to me is a book that he wrote called Health Food Junkies : Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating. I would like to thank Dr. Bratman for graciously giving me permission to share the following article that he wrote on this topic with our guests. - Ben Kim, D.C. 
  Read more about Orthorexia Nervosa: The Health Food Eating Disorder

 

Best Stretch for Chronic Low Back Pain

Do you know anyone who suffers from chronic low back pain? As simple as it seems, many people with chronic low back pain can improve and even fully heal their backs by doing one simple thing: stretching their hamstrings.

Read more about Best Stretch for Chronic Low Back Pain

 

The Miracle of Vitamin D

I consider Krispin Sullivan to be the world's foremost expert on the relationship between vitamin D and human health. Many thanks to Krispin for taking the time to update and educate me on the latest in vitamin D research and what we can do to ensure appropriate levels for excellent health. You can read more about Krispin's work and upcoming book at her website. - Ben Kim, D.C. Read more about The Miracle of Vitamin D

 

Why Soy Milk and Rice Milk are Not Health Foods

With greater awareness of the many health problems associated with pasteurized dairy products, many people are turning to vegetarian milk substitutes like soy milk and rice milk. I’m not a big fan of either. Here are some reasons why I don’t think soy or rice milk should be staples in your diet:

  1. Many brands of soy and rice milk contain polyunsaturated vegetable oils which can contribute to an imbalance of essential fatty acids in your body. As harmless as this might sound, I am convinced that a chronic imbalance of essential fatty acids caused by regular consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Polyunsaturated fats that contribute to this harmful imbalance are found in safflower, corn, soybean, sunflower, and cottonseed oils. I recommend that you stay away from these oils completely. Read more about healthy vs. unhealthy fats here.

  2. Some brands of soy and rice milk contain rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, or some other natural sweetener. Natural or not, most sweeteners put significant stress on your pancreas and liver. They also raise your insulin level, which significantly increases your risk of suffering from unhealthy weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, premature aging, and several other negative side effects.
  3. While fermented forms of soy like miso, tempeh, and natto can be healthy choices for some people, non-fermented soy products can cause a variety of health problems if consumed in large quantities on a regular basis. I will discuss the details of when soy can be good and when it can be bad in a future newsletter.

Ready for some good news?

You can make a rich and creamy alternative to cow’s, soy, and rice milk with raw almonds and a good blender. Here is how we make it at our clinic:

All-Natural Almond Milk

1 ½ cups of raw almonds, soaked in water overnight
4 cups of filtered or spring water
3-5 dates (optional)

Blend 1 ½ cups of raw almonds that have been soaked overnight in 4 cups of water. Blend with dates if you like your milk with a hint of sweetness. Strain once to remove almond granules. The result is a delicious, creamy milk that is free of harmful vegetable oil, concentrated sweeteners, and the problems associated with cow’s milk and soy. It keeps for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Read more about Why Soy Milk and Rice Milk are Not Health Foods

 

Why Do You Want To Be Healthy?

We recently had a guest stay with us for a 30-day water fast. This particular guest is an engineer with extensive experience in designing and inventing various machines like forklifts. Having a detective-like mindset and being highly trained to understand how things work, he asked numerous questions during his stay, his goal being to understand all of the variables that influence human health. Read more about Why Do You Want To Be Healthy?

 

Three of the Worst Foods for Your Health

While it is good to be aware of the negative health effects of obsessing over dietary purity, some foods don't deserve to be included in the philosophy of "everything in moderation." Want to know three foods that will destroy your health the quickest? Here they are:

1. Doughnuts

Doughnuts are moist paddies of sugar, trans fat, and white flour. The sugar and white flour will fill you up but provide little nutritional benefit. Trans fats are known to cause cancer and contribute to every chronic degenerative disease known to man. Finally, frying carbohydates causes acrylamide formation, known to contribute to cancer development. Read more about Three of the Worst Foods for Your Health

 

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