Tag Archives: preventative

Latest Research Lifestyle

Boost Brain Power in just 10 Minutes

A new study shows that just 10 minutes of exercise can measurably improve your brain power. If you have trouble with focus, or have a “foggy brain”, this could help you.

While there is a lot of research on the multitude of benefits from long-term and prolonged exercise, Researchers from Western University, have discovered that even a short 10 minute burst of exercise can improve cognitive function, particularly in decision-making, problem-solving, and focus, at least temporarily.

Young healthy adults participating in the experiment were subject to 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, and then assessed, with immediate results. A control group that did not exercise showed no marked improvement in cognitive function.

The results preliminary, but may be important in the research of elderly patients with dementia, especially if they are not very mobile.

About to write a test, write your dissertation, go into a meeting, or just need to focus? It can be as simple as putting on your runners, and doing jumping jacks, skipping, or power yoga. All you need to do is get that heart rate up for 10 minutes. Try it and tell us if it worked for you!

Read the full study here.

Lifestyle Nutrition

How To Keep Your Gut Happy On Your Summer Vacation

digestive issues - keeping your gut happy

Nothing ruins a vacation faster than having to spend all of your time in the bathroom. Severe digestive issues keep you stuck indoors and miserable for days after it’s ended. Then you spend the rest of the time wondering if it’s really over.

Keeping your gut happy is key, and it actually starts way before you even pack your suitcase.

  1. A healthy diet with plenty of dietary fiber and water will clear your digestive system and keep things regular. A few weeks before your vacation, you want to add some extra fiber to your diet. Oatmeal, chia seeds and celery are easy ways to naturally increase fiber, and as a bonus, they help lower cholesterol. Vacation often means fast food that’s high in fat and sugar, so keep that fiber in check to keep things moving.
  2. Probiotics will help to increase the amount of good bacteria to maintain healthy intestinal flora. We need a lot of good bacteria in the intestines to break down food. This ensures we absorb all the good stuff we’re eating. When there is a disruption in this system, things like fungus (candida) can flourish, causing bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. You can also add fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, and miso to your diet daily to get the naturally occurring probiotics present in these foods.
  3. Eliminating dairy helps to reduce the body’s production of mucous. Mucous forms in your respiratory system and can cause infections, but it also forms in the gut. When it does, it prevents food from absorbing properly and can speed up the digestive system. Food is then eliminated before it is completely broken down, causing gas and bloating, as well as irritating the bowels.
  4. Drink bottled water and avoid iced drinks if possible. Ice is directly handled frequently and by numerous people where the weather is warm, and the tourists plentiful. Utensils and/or hands that are not clean frequently and can transfer food borne diseases easily. In countries where the water is not potable, ice should be avoided as there is no guarantee that the water is purified.
  5. Reducing stress is vital to gut health. Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system, causing diarrhea and dreaded constipation. Balance getting enough sleep and being active to keep your digestive system moving.

If you end up getting sick, avoid over the counter anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhea medications. These only temporarily stop the symptoms, which is trying to physically purge the virus/bacteria out of your system. Resting and staying hydrated (even if it keeps coming up) will help your body fight off the illness.

Chronic digestive issues include frequent constipation, diarrhea, excess gas and bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain, especially after eating. There are many reasons for chronic digestive issues, like poor diet, frequent use of antibiotics and/or NSAIDS, inefficient waste removal or an imbalance in intestinal flora, just to name a few.

If you have chronic digestive or bowel issues, contact our Naturopath’s. They can help resolve these digestive issues.



How To Escape A Pesky Summer Cold

escape a pesky summer coldThe summer season is finally here, and the weather will be warming up. Your schedule is probably already filled with activities to enjoy that ample Vitamin D boost from the sun. What you’re not planning for is a pesky summer cold.

Enteroviruses spread more during warm weather, as opposed to their cold weather loving counterparts. You’ll still get the fever, sore throat and cough, but these viruses can also cause skin rashes and diarrhea. They seem to last longer as well.

They spread the same way common colds do through respiratory secretions through coughing, sneezing and contact with contaminated surfaces. So practicing good hand washing techniques is key. You should always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get underneath your nails and in between your fingers.

For some healthy adults, you may experience no symptoms, but can still pass on the cold virus!

Staying on track with your diet will also help to maintain a good working immune system. Summer time can be laden with high fat BBQ’s and sugary treats, which keeps the digestive system sluggish. Keep up with your fiber and stay hydrated! A happy gut is essential for good immune function. If you’re not already taking a high quality probiotic, now is the time to start. Probiotics help to maintain healthy intestinal flora.

Drinking ginger tea is great for the digestive system, but did you know that it is also anti-viral? A cup of warm ginger tea throughout the day will keep the fire in your belly going, but helps to keep you cool.

If you’ve got plans, like a trip you just can’t miss – try Vitamin IV therapy. It gives your immune system a big boost of vitamins to support its natural function. If you end up with a pesky summer cold, Vitamin IV therapy may also help shorten the length and severity of the symptoms.

In BC, the summer months are so amazing, but it doesn’t last very long! If you’d like to optimize your health this summer, and throughout the year, talk to one of our Surrey Naturopaths.


Lifestyle Nutrition

6 Reasons to LOVE Mint

naturopath love mintA wonderful perennial herb that is so easy to grow, it grows like a weed! As a part of a healthy diet, mint has a variety of health benefits, from promoting digestion to clearing skin and easing pain.

Our Naturopath’s love mint. Here are 6 reasons why you’ll love mint too:

1. Aids digestion. Soothes the stomach and promotes enzymes to help you digest your meal. It calms and relaxes the smooth muscles of the stomach and reduces flatulence. Try a cup of mint tea or a few drops of peppermint oil rubbed into the belly.

2. Helps oral health. Mint freshens your breath by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Chew a few mint leaves after your meals.

3. Eases cold symptoms. Mint is a natural expectorant and can help to remove mucous from the airways. Try a few drops in a humidifier, bath, or on the chest and sinuses.

4. Skin cleanser. Although peppermint oil is too strong for your skin, fresh mint leaves applied to the skin regularly is an effective way to combat acne. It is naturally antibacterial. Try crushing a few mint leaves with purified water and apply to the skin for 1 minute before rinsing thoroughly.

5. Eases pain. Mint has analgesic properties due to it’s cooling effects when applied directly and is used in many topical pain creams. Peppermint oil can even ease headaches. Try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath and breathing deeply.

6. It’s cooling. Mint helps to cool down the body, which is why it makes a great summer time treat. Try adding mint to your favourite summer time drinks, like lemonade.

Talk to one of our Surrey Naturopath’s, to learn more about a healthy diet.

Lifestyle News & Events Nutrition Recipes

Fall Newsletter: Loose the Summer Weight!

Fall Newsletter


Latest Research Lifestyle

Zinc Lozenges Work Well to Reduce Cold Symptoms

UnknownA previous meta-analysis (combined results of many studies) has found that zinc lozenges reduce the duration of common cold symptoms. The majority of these studies showed significant positive benefits and the few that did not show any benefits had all involved too low of a zinc dose.

Recently, a review was done on three trials that distinguished between the effect on different cold symptoms. The results of these trials found that nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, scratchy/sore throat, cough and muscle aches were all significantly reduced. The throat and cough symptoms were the most reduced. Only headache and fever duration were unaffected.

This result is not surprising. It would be expected that the tissues receiving the highest doses (the lozenges would dissolve in the oral cavity) would receive the most benefit. The doses used in these studies were quite high so please consult your naturopathic physician to determine an effective nutritional plan to prevent colds.


Latest Research Nutrition

Antibiotics or Nutrition for a Cold?

It is common medical practice to prescribe antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (colds, sinusitis, ear infections, sore throat, bronchitis) despite the fact that most of these infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria.  Both doctors and patients play an important role in this unfortunate practice – patients often pressure their physician to prescribe the antibiotics.

A recent study showed that delaying or not prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory infections resulted in no difference in the severity or duration of symptoms when compared with those that received antibiotics. This study is one of many that have revealed the futility of taking antibiotics for these common illnesses. These unwarranted antibiotics lead to drug resistant infections, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increase risk for allergies and bowel disorders.

At the Village Health Clinic, our approach to acute respiratory infections is to use evidence based dietary, nutritional and natural therapeutics that reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms and ultimately prevent these infections.  We also provide guidelines to help you decide when to consider emergent care and antibiotics. In some of these cases, we will provide you with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to fill the prescription under certain circumstances – such as the presence of warning signs that indicate the illness is getting worse.

If you find yourself or your child is fighting an infection, please schedule a visit. We can usually get you in for a short appointment that day.


Little P et al. Delayed antibiotic prescribing strategies for respiratory tract infections in primary care: Pragmatic, factorial, randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2014 Mar 5; 348:g1606. 

Latest Research

How Long Does it Take for Gut Bacteria to Return To Normal After Antibiotic Therapy?

Antibiotic treatment can significantly alter the composition of bacteria in our digestive tracts leading to the common side effects associated with these drugs – diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. In particular, it is the healthy bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, that are destroyed. In infants, many studies have revealed how these healthy bugs play an important role in the development of the their immune systems and digestive tracts. Alterations in these gut bacteria lead to increased risk for infections, allergies, autoimmune disease, obesity and serious digestive disorders.

How long do the negative effects of antibiotics last? A study looked at the stools of 18 infants, half of which were treated with antibiotics within 48 hours of birth and half did not receive any antibiotics throughout the study. Stools samples were compared at 4 and 8 weeks after the antibiotics were completed.

At 4 weeks, the proportion of healthy bacteria was significantly lower in the infants receiving antibiotics compared to those found in untreated infants. At 8 weeks, the levels of healthy bacteria in the treated infants had partially recovered to those found in the untreated infants. But, the levels of Bifidobacterium, which appears to be the most important bacteria at this age, did not fully recover. Also, longer treatment times of antibiotics resulted in further decreases in healthy bacteria.

This study reveals how vulnerable the balance of bacteria are in infant digestive tracts. It suggests the importance of appropriate probiotic supplementation particularly during or immediately after antibiotic therapy to reduce long term health risks.

Fouhy F et al. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2012 Nov 56:5811

Latest Research

Irregular Bedtimes May Result in Behavioral Issues in Children

Children with irregular bedtimes have more behavioral problems than children with regular bedtimes. In a study published in Pediatrics, more than 10,000 children’s sleeping patterns were recorded from ages 3 until 7. At age 7, the children’s behavior was assessed by their mothers and teachers. The study revealed that children with irregular bedtimes had significantly more behavioral issues – aggression, hyperactivity, emotional issues – than those children with regular sleep patterns. The greater the irregularity with bedtimes, the more behavioral issues that were reported. At the end of the study, the children with behavioral issues were switched to a regular bedtime schedule and as a result had significant improvements in their behaviors. Children, like adults, are “creatures of habit”. Their physical, mental and emotional development thrive on regular daily routines.

Yvonne Kelly, John Kelly and Amanda Sacker. Changes in Bedtime Schedules and Behavioral Difficulties in 7 Year Old Children. Pediatrics. 2013; DOI: 10.1542: 2013-1906

Latest Research Lifestyle Nutrition

Higher Salt Intake in Children Associated with High Blood Pressure

The link between high salt intake and high blood pressure in adults is well known. Fortunately, adults are increasingly taking the simple step of restricting salt intake to not only treat but also prevent high blood pressure and it’s cardiovascular complications (heart attack and stroke). Why then do we allow our children to continue to consume high levels of salt in the form of fast foods, processed snacks such as chips, and deli meats.

A recent study published in the journal “Pediatrics” showed that higher salt intake in children is associated with high blood pressure. The association was even stronger in overweight or obese children. Children should be consuming less than 2300 mg of salt per day but this study found that they are consuming an average of 3400 mg per day. This is comparable to the average daily intake of salt for an adult – way too much. We forget that children are not only susceptible to the same illnesses as adults but that many of these diseases start in childhood. For example, atherosclerotic plaques (the precursor to heart attack and stroke) can be found in children as young as 10 years old. Many of these conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes) are not old age diseases but life long diseases that start in childhood. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure Among US Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2012 Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print]