- Dr. Lesley
|Dr. Lesley D'Souza, Naturopathic Doctor Oakville Mississauga||
Welcome to fall! Here are some great fall superfoods to include in your daily diet. Enjoy!
- Dr. Lesley
Becoming pregnant can be one of the most wonderful and exciting times in a woman’s life. However, there are a number of problems that can arise during the different trimesters that can make the journey quite challenging.
Because so few medications can be taken safely during these nine months, many women are looking to find natural ways to address their pregnancy symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting
This can affect up to 90 percent of pregnant women in their first trimester.
Causes: Researchers believe that nausea and vomiting is a result of the many physical changes that occur in early pregnancy, including higher levels of hormones.
Also known as vaginal candidiasis, yeast infections tend to be more prevalent in pregnant women. It is not uncommon to have a certain amount of yeast or candida in the vaginal canal; however, it can become a problem when it grows so fast that it overwhelms other competing beneficial micro-organisms.
Causes: It is believed that the high estrogen levels and high glycogen content in vaginal secretions during pregnancy provide an excellent environment for the yeast to grow rapidly.
Stay tuned for common health concerns during the second trimester of pregnancy!
Making a baby seems quite simple. Sperm meets egg, cells divide creating a mini human, wait nine months and voila…baby is born! For many couples, this is a natural process that takes place without any roadblocks. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out that easily and I’ve seen firsthand how frustrating that can be.
About one in five couples in Canada are affected by fertility challenges. There are a number of factors that can contribute to difficulties in conceiving. Some conditions that can affect fertility include physical blockages in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus, uterine fibroids or polyps, thyroid conditions, endometriosis, problems with sperm count, motility, or morphology, a menstrual cycle that is out of balance (may be indicated by irregular timing, spotting between periods, PMS symptoms, amenorrhea, difficulties with ovulation, polycystic ovaries, painful periods, heavy periods), stress, and dietary habits. Wow, those seem like a lot of road blocks, but now let’s talk about different ways to enhance fertility naturally.
As Naturopathic Doctors we use various modalities including Chinese medicine and acupuncture, nutrition, botanical medicine and homeopathy in order to rebalance the hormonal system, treat the conditions that give rise to suboptimal fertility and to maximize a couple’s ability to conceive.
Improve health of both partners prior to conception
Many people think of infertility as a woman’s problem, but it takes two to tango. In fact, studies indicate that the cause of infertility is equally divided between the female and the male, so both partners need to be evaluated and treated.
Chart and understand your cycle
Using natural family planning, you can learn your body’s fertility signs, identify underlying problems, and time intercourse for optimum results.
Balance your hormones
The endocrine system is very complex, and it is important to have proper functioning of thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones.
Optimize your digestion
This may not be the first thing you think of for fertility, but digestion plays a central role in your overall health status. Your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, balance blood sugars and eliminate wastes determines the state of your internal environment.
Enhance your nutritional status
Ensuring proper intake of nutrients helps to produce healthy eggs and sperm, as well as provide the nourishment for the developing fetus. Choosing organic, nutrient dense, whole foods will provide your body with a good foundation, and supplements can be used as recommended by your Naturopathic Doctor.
Cleanse and detoxify your body
This should only be done prior to conception and can help prepare both the man and the woman. Most of us carry around accumulated toxins which can interfere with fertility and overall health. Detoxification decreases this burden and makes for a healthier environment for your baby since after all; your body will be its home for 9 months!
Manage your stress
Infertility can be one of the most stressful experiences in a couple’s life. Expressing your feelings, taking control and seeking support from qualified professionals can be life savers for you and for your marriage. There are quite a few infertility support groups that run weekly meetings.
Increase success rates of conventional infertility treatments
The Naturopathic approach is commonly combined with assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), to enhance success rates. Numerous studies have showed that the use of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy to ART significantly improves reproductive outcomes
Whether you are planning on trying to conceive in the near future, preserving your fertility as you hear your biological clock ticking, or are actively treating your infertility, there are many treatment options available to help you along your journey.
If you have any questions about Naturopathic Medicine & Fertility, please contact Dr. Lesley.
So last month we talked about the benefits of detox and how simple it can be to start. Cleaning up the diet is essential to any detox program as well as incorporating certain foods to aid in the detoxification process. Here are some of the top foods to help you detox:
Green leafy vegetables: Kale, spinach, watercress, arugula, chard are all full of chlorophyll which not only aids the liver in detoxification but also helps the body eliminate harmful toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Whether they are eaten raw, thrown into a broth or added to juices, leafy greens are important for detox.
Citrus: Lemon, limes, oranges are extremely high in vitamin C, which helps flush heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum out of the body. They also help to stimulate digestive processes. To increase detoxification, start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water.
Beets: Beets are extremely effective for liver detoxification. They help digestion and stimulate both the kidneys and lymphatic system.
Fresh fruit: Full of vitamin C, fibre, nutritious fluids, and an endless supply of antioxidants, fruits are an important part of any detox program. Apples are great for detoxifying the bloodstream and supporting the lymphatic system. Pectin, a type of plant fibre found in apples, is especially helpful in maintaining healthy digestion. It helps prevent the absorption of toxic heavy metals, such as aluminum, mercury, and cadmium, in the intestinal tract and ensures they are quickly eliminated from the body.
Garlic: This pungent bulb stimulates the liver in producing detoxification enzymes that help filter out toxins in the digestive system. Also, allicin, a compound found in garlic, is extremely effective in killing a variety of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and parasites.
Green tea: Green tea is high in catechins - a flavonoid — which speeds up liver activity and increases the production of detoxification enzymes. Green tea is also packed full of antioxidants which help to wash toxins out of the body.
Broccoli sprouts: Extremely high in antioxidants, broccoli sprouts can help stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the body. The key component responsible for these actions is called sulforaphane and spouts can contain up to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. These small but nutritionally powerful veggies can be found at your local health food supermarket.
Parsley: Parsley has a wonderful detoxifying effect on the bloodstream. It is beneficial for the health of the colon, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen. It also provides the body with many vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, as well as chlorophyll.
Along with consuming some of these foods, make sure you are hydrating your body with plenty of water which a very important part of detox!
What Causes Cravings?
When our blood sugar levels are imbalanced, we get cravings. Different foods will alter our blood sugar levels at different rates. Certain foods can cause our blood sugar levels to spike and subsequently fall, leaving us feeling tired, hungry, and craving carbohydrates and sugary foods. Whenever we have a craving, our body sends out a multitude of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters strongly impact our behaviours and feelings causing addictive patterns. These patterns can become ingrained in us, working faster and stronger each time we experience a craving.
How to Minimize Cravings:
1) Include protein in every meal and snack.
Protein has a low glycemic index, which means it is broken down slowly in the body, releasing energy continuously. Adding protein will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent you from entering the “starvation mode” which leaves us craving carbs and sugary foods.
Proteins sources include beans, legumes lentils, nuts, seeds, eggs, and animal proteins. You can also consider purchasing a protein powder to add to drinks and food.
2) Have something to eat every 3-4 hours
Consuming several small meals throughout the day helps to regular blood sugar levels and decrease cravings.
3) Avoid all-carbohydrate meals
These meals not only spike the blood sugar and leave you hungry soon after, but they also dampen the central nervous system decreasing your desire for physical activity and dampening your mood.
4) Bump up the fiber intake
Fiber helps to keep you feeling full longer and slows the release of nutrients into the blood stream, helping to normalize your sugar levels.
5) Eat your veggies no matter what
Vegetables not only provide you with important nutrients that are involved in everything from regulating bodily functions to fighting cancer, they also help regular your metabolism and decrease your cravings.
6) Eat good fats
Include omega-3 fats in your diet. These help reduce cholesterol, fill you up, and help regulate your blood sugar decreasing your cravings.
7) Carry a water bottle with you during the day to ensure you are drinking about 2L of water everyday
Often times when we think we’re hungry, we are actually thirsty. Since our bodies are over 50% water, we need to drink a lot to keep our cells functioning properly. Most people are dehydrated and only consume coffee, tea, and pop. These fluids dehydrate the body inhibiting our cells’ ability to function properly.
- Dr. Lesley
Dr. Lesley D'Souza
Dr. Lesley is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Oakville and Mississauga, Ontario.