At the Heart of Your Good Health

Close up of doctor hands making heart shape

Most of us have heard the message: preventing weight gain and diabetes is crucial to maintaining good cardiovascular health.  In the long run, lifestyle and exercise have repeatedly been proven more effective cures for these types of conditions than medications.  Yet, even with a plethora of information available on eating and living right, making over your own life is a challenge.  Fear and worry don’t always motivate.  Obstacles to healthy living – whether mental, emotional, physical or spiritual, are unique to each individual.  Naturopathic Doctors provide individualized, integrative care that helps move people forward when simplistic diets and fads fall short.  A holistic, supportive, multi-level approach makes evidence-based medicine come alive.  Here are some keys to smart, preventive self-care:

  • Fat has a controversial reputation since “low fat” became a buzz word in the food industry following some studies correlating high blood fat with heart disease.  We now know that eating good quality, fresh fats is not what causes weight gain and heart disease.  In fact, one form of saturated fat from coconuts, known as Medium Chain Triglycerides, can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  The Mediterranean diet, high in nuts and seeds, olive oil, legumes, vegetables and fruits and moderate amounts of animal products has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.  So don’t throw out those egg yolks and don’t avoid avocado or almonds!  Fats that should be avoided are those that are deep fried, damaged, modified or rancid. These are found in processed and packaged foods.
  • Sugar, on the other hand, can be harmful.  Keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day is the key to consistently high energy levels, stable mood, and hormonal balance.  When blood sugar spikes, blood fats and blood cells become coated with sticky sugars which gives them artery-clogging potential.  Insulin spikes, which at high levels tells fat to be stored in the belly and increases inflammation throughout the body.  And what goes up, comes down – hence the crashes, cravings and compulsions that follow sugary snacks or meals high in simple carbohydrates.  Try including some sweet flavour in your main meals rather than eating isolated sugary snacks.
  • Emotions are best expressed and can lead to chronic illness when suppressed or ignored.  Hostility and cynicism, that can develop when emotional issues are not resolved, have been found in several large studies to strongly correlate with coronary heart disease and mortality.  Naturopathic care navigates the relationship between emotional and physical health, helping you get un-stuck from patterns of disharmony.
  • Oral health may be an important contributor to cardiovascular disease.  One recent study published in the British Medical Journal (deOliveira, Watt and Hamer, 2010) linked poor oral hygiene behaviour with cardiovascular disease, as well as with a blood marker indicating chronic inflammation called C Reactive Protein.  This was independent of other factors such as smoking and excess weight.  Thorough and holistic dental assessment can identify markers and risk factors for heart disease.

Schecter Dental’s integrative team brings together these essential aspects of cardiovascular health and long-term well-being.

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Dr. Julia Segal, ND has a passion for awakening self-knowledge and harmonious health in individual patients and in her community.  She is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) where she trained in this unique approach to wellness including diagnosis and health assessment, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy.  She loves working in depth with patients in order to bring these tools into their quest for deeply rooted well-being of mind, body and spirit.  While at CCNM she helped lead the Caring Clowns Club, also known as the Funny Bones, bringing the therapeutic power of humour and play into her community.

Julia holds a B.Sc. in Biological Psychology from the University of British Columbia and enters the field of Naturopathy with a particular interest in mind-body medicine, women’s health and endocrinology as well as gastrointestinal health.  She is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors as well as the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Her objective at Schecter Dental is to make nature’s medicinal and healing power accessible to those who seek it, working as part of an integrative team to provide thorough, individualized care.

 

Reference: deOliveira, Watt & Hamer, 2010.  Toothbrushing, inflammation and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey.  BMJ 340:c2451

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