One of my favorite phrases is, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” In other words, if there are too many toxins present in our bloodstream, the body (in its love for us), tries to protect us by sequestering the offending substances in fluid or fat. This is where the concept of counting calories to lose weight misses the mark. Unless your body’s hormones, digestion, detoxification, immune, inflammatory response, and energy reserves are in place, obtaining optimal weight in our toxic world will be nearly impossible. This is because the body knows it’s too dangerous to release these harmful constituents into the circulation without adequate means for removal. Furthermore, with lifestyle and nutrition as the foundation to achieve this balance, there’s the question of how can we support this process in a fast paced, over-stressed society where fast food has become the norm.
Wouldn’t it be a cool idea that instead of reaching for a sugar-laden, high fructose, or caffeine infused beverage or treat, we could replace it with something to nurture ourselves? Recently, I got introduced to a new Slimming Tea and got to work in looking at the different ingredients in this tea. I took some of the concepts in this beverage and combined it with some simple tips and concepts on how to help bring the body back into balance, and decrease its toxic load. These can be simple steps one can take to help release excess weight. After all, it’s a lot easier to substitute an ingrained habit of a hot beverage with a healthier choice, then changing the habit all together, right?
1. Spice Up, Shed Pounds
Spices help with weight control in a few ways. They aid in controlling inflammation and balancing blood sugar. A recent article in the European Journal of Nutrition highlighted the nutrigenomic factors of how the spice, Curcumin, provides a pathway to reduce the risk of insulin resistance:
Obesity has been classified as a growing epidemic and its associated metabolic disorders are considered a major risk to the health system. Curcumin interacts with specific proteins in adipocytes, pancreatic cells, hepatic stellate cells, macrophages, and muscle cells, where it suppresses several cellular proteins such as transcription factor NF-kB, STAT-3, Wnt/?-catenin and activates PPAR-?, Nrf2 cell signaling pathway. In addition, curcumin downregulates the inflammatory cytokines, resistin and leptin, and upregulates adiponectin as well as other associated proteins. The interactions of curcumin with several signal transduction pathways reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic diseases.
Source: Eur J Nutr. 2011 Apr;50(3):151-61. Epub 2011 Mar 27.
Due to the kindness of Mother Nature, spices that tickle our sweet buds can also help our waistline. Cinnamon’s potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and glucose modulating effects make its addition to any weight management routine yummy-riffic:
Cinnamon: potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Abstract Summary:
Metabolic syndrome is associated with insulin resistance, elevated glucose and lipids, inflammation, decreased antioxidant activity, increased weight gain, and increased glycation of proteins. Cinnamon has been shown to improve all of these variables in in vitro, animal, and/or human studies. In addition, cinnamon has been shown to alleviate factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease by blocking and reversing tau formation in vitro and in ischemic stroke by blocking cell swelling.
In vitro studies also show that components of cinnamon control angiogenesis associated with the proliferation of cancer cells. Human studies involving control subjects and subjects with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and polycystic ovary syndrome all show beneficial effects of whole cinnamon and/or aqueous extracts of cinnamon on glucose, insulin, insulin sensitivity, lipids, antioxidant status, blood pressure, lean body mass, and gastric emptying. However, not all studies have shown positive effects of cinnamon, and type and amount of cinnamon, as well as the type of subjects and drugs subjects are taking, are likely to affect the response to cinnamon.
In summary, components of cinnamon may be important in the alleviation and prevention of the signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular and related diseases.
Pubmed Data : J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 May;4(3):685-93. Epub 2010 May 1. PMID: 20513336
Accessed at: Cinnamon has a potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
2. Nurture yourself with a hot beverage—green or oolong tea
Last week, I discussed the vital aspects of cholesterol, it’s not about killing the formation of cholesterol, but metabolizing it. A recent study showed that one major health benefit of the ECGC in green tea aids is in balancing cholesterol!
Catechins, compounds derived from green tea, have been shown to improve cholesterol metabolism in animal studies, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this function have not been fully understood. We performed DNA microarray analysis in order to clarify the effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the dominant catechin in green tea, on cholesterol metabolism in HepG2 hepatocytes. This revealed that the expression levels of several genes related to cholesterol metabolism, including the LDL receptor, were changed by EGCG treatment. Using a real-time PCR technique, we confirmed that EGCG treatment up-regulated mRNA expression level of the LDL receptor. Moreover, EGCG decreased extracellular apoB levels. These findings indicated that EGCG improves cholesterol metabolism through the up-regulation of LDL receptor and also reduces extracellular apoB levels.
Source: Epigallocatechin gallate changes mRNA expression level of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism in hepatocytes. Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug 19:1-5. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 21851755
For those who like variety, what about the old oolong tea? It still contains the benefits of antioxidants, which squelch inflammation and balance blood sugar, with the added bonus of EGCG.
Massive accumulation of gallic acid and unique occurrence of myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol in preparing old oolong tea.
Old oolong tea, tasting superior and empirically considered beneficial for human health, is prepared by long-term storage accompanied with periodic drying for refinement. Analyzing infusions of three old and one newly prepared oolong teas showed that significant lower (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) but higher gallic acid contents were detected in the old teas compared to the new one. The possibility of releasing gallic acid from EGCG in old tea preparation was supported by an in vitro observation of gallic acid degraded from EGCG under heating conditions mimicking the drying process. Moreover, three minor flavonols, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol, that were undetectable in the new tea occurred in all of the three old teas. Converting the new oolong tea into an old one by periodic drying revealed the same characteristic observation, i.e., massive accumulation of gallic acid presumably released from EGCG and unique occurrence of flavonols putatively decomposed from flavonol glycosides.
Pubmed Data : J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):7950-6. Epub 2008 Aug 16. PMID: 18707114
Accessed at: Oolong tea accumulates the flavonols myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol, and high levels of gallic acid.
3. Calm inflammation with herbs
Inflammation contributes to stuck toxins and holding onto excess pounds. Frankincense has been known as an anti-inflammatory herb for quite some time. Below is an excerpt on a species variation of Boswellia. There are different spieces of Boswellia with different properties. For example, Boswellia sacra has a higher content of the constituent alpha pinene, used for fungal and microbial infections, than Boswellia carteri. Although both are therapeutic, which species to choose can be narrowed down but what your main goal is. (See below)
The Cardiff scientists believe they have been able to demonstrate that treatment with an extract of Boswellia frereana — a rare frankincense species — inhibits the production of key inflammatory molecules which helps prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue which causes the condition.
Dr Ali adds: “The search for new drugs to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis is a priority area for scientists. What our research has managed to achieve is to use innovative chemical extraction techniques to determine the active ingredient in frankincense.
“Having done this we are now able to further characterize the chemical entity and compare its success against other anti-inflammatory drugs used for treating the condition.”
Antifungal Alpha-pinene:
The antifungal mechanism of alpha-pinene was studied using electronic microscopy and incorporation of isotope-labelled precursor. The results demonstrated that alpha-pinene had significant roles in inhibiting and killing Candida albicans. After treatment with alpha-pinene the fungal morphology and ultrastructure showed obvious changes: their cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane ruptured; intracellular components released out and the cell residue fused to form irregular masses. In addition, the synthesis of DNA, RNA, polysaccharide of cell wall and ergosterol of cytoplasmic membrane was inhibited. It is indicated that these changes are related to antifungal mechanism of alpha-pinene.
Source: Hunan Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 1999;24(6):507-9.PMID: 12080706
4. Don’t forgo the treat of chocolate!
Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis.
An abstract from BMJ evaluated 4576 references , with seven studies meeting  involving 114, 009 participants meeting inclusion data. The analysis included two independent analyzers and a third to reach consensus. Based on the studies analyzed, the following conclusion between chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders was reached:
CONCLUSIONS: Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Further experimental studies are required to confirm a potentially beneficial effect of chocolate consumption.
Pubmed Data : BMJ. 2011 ;343:d4488. Epub 2011 Aug 26. PMID: 21875885
Accessed online: Chocolate consumption is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
Remember, it has to be REAL Chocolate: pure, unprocessed, 72% or higher cocoa with its high in antioxidants…it’s not your mother’s Hershey’s bar!
Here’s another reference:
Cocoa and cardiovascular health
Epidemiological data demonstrate that regular dietary intake of plant-derived foods and beverages reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Among many ingredients, cocoa might be an important mediator. Indeed, recent research demonstrates a beneficial effect of cocoa on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and vascular and platelet function. Although still debated, a range of potential mechanisms through which cocoa might exert its benefits on cardiovascular health have been proposed, including activation of nitric oxide and antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects. This review summarizes the available data on the cardiovascular effects of cocoa, outlines potential mechanisms involved in the response to cocoa, and highlights the potential clinical implications associated with its consumption.
VitalChoice. 2011 March. Cocoa’s Gene Effects Reinforce its Heart-Health Rep.
Circulation. 2009 Mar 17;119(10):1433-41.PMID: 19289648
Bottom line: Substituting a healthy lifestyle choice for one that needs adjusting can be an easier, softer, and powerful way to a happier, healthier body and mind!
Be sure to check out my informational blog on which includes:
1.       Naturopathic Philosophy Highlight Fun Fact: Breast Cancer Month or Breast Health Month-Dr. Christiane Northrup Explains
2.       Launch of Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson’s new Book, Create an Exceptional Life!
3. Radio For Your BodyMind-Soul:
4.       Dr. Oz’s Sharecare
A special thank you to those that attended the Health Forum, it was a wonderful and lively discussion on Digestion, GMOs, and natural home remedies. And, before you navigate away, don’t forget to look for updated Link Resources on my homepage