Candice Csaky, INHHC

The Physical & Nutritional Benefits of Gardening

Gardening

Exercise and nutrition are essential components of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know gardening can provide both? In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here are three top benefits gardening can provide your mind and body.

Staying Fit and Healthy
You can burn about the same amount of calories during 30 minutes of gardening as you can performing moderate calisthenics, mowing the lawn or going for a brisk walk. Because gardening is low impact, it can be a great exercise option for children, the elderly and those with mobility issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical activities like gardening can also lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, obesity, depression and diabetes.

Building Community and Helping the Planet
Community centers and schools use gardens to educate and promote the value of growing food and incorporating fresh produce into your diet. They also teach both children and adults about the importance of plants and the natural cycle of life. Eating locally grown produce from a community garden or your own backyard can also help decrease your carbon footprint.

Boosting Your Mood
Some studies have shown that gardening can reduce cortisol levels, promoting a sense of relief from stress and leading to an improved mood. Researchers at the University of Bristol also discovered that a certain bacteria found in soil might contribute to higher levels of serotonin, the mood-boosting neurotransmitter.

Looking for a fun way to improve your health and increase movement? Spend some downtime tackling yard work and tending to a garden.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Men... Losing Strength? This Hormone Can Help



Yes, we're talking testosterone.  That muscle-building hormone.  But I'm not going to recommend that you take any anabolic steroid hormones or anything like that.

 

I am going to give you two solid tips on how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally with supplements.

 

Tip #1: Get enough zinc

 

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes).  Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing.  Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell.  Zinc is an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone.

 

Zinc is found mostly in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish.  Some plants can also provide zinc such as beans and nuts.  The best dietary source is oysters.

 

The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it's 8 mg/day).  Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot (zinc is lost in sweat).  And low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.

 

Of course if you don't get enough zinc in your diet you can always supplement.  Before you do, however, consider a few things:

●     It is possible to get too much zinc so unless your doctor tells you never take more than 40 mg/day.  For many people just 5-10 mg/day is enough to prevent deficiency.

●     Zinc supplements can also interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if zinc supplements are safe for you.

●     Zinc supplements are best taken 2-hours away from any medications (if it's safe to use it at all while taking those medications) and should be taken with food.

 

Tip #2: Get enough vitamin D

 

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” is actually the most common nutrient that we in North America just simply don't get enough of.  Not only is it not very abundant in foods but most places far from the equator don't get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year round. 

 

Hello winter; goodbye sunshine vitamin.

 

Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system.  As with zinc if you're deficient in this nutrient you may experience increased testosterone levels after supplementing.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

 

It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks.  Unfortunately it isn't abundant in most other un-fortified foods.

 

The bottom line with vitamin D is that you may need to supplement.  Of course if you're always outside in the sun or eat fatty fish every day you may be the exception.  You can always ask your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure because vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better.

 

Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively:

●     Read your labels and don't overdo it.  Never supplement with more than 4,000IU/day unless supervised by your doctor.

●     As with zinc (and most other supplements) you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any medications. 

●     Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin.  It is often recommended that you take it with the largest meal of the day.

●     Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (read your labels).

 

Summary:

 

If you aren't getting enough zinc and/or vitamin D every day your testosterone levels may be a bit low but don't overdo these two essential nutrients.

 

Recipe (vitamin D and zinc): Honey Sesame Salmon

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Serves 4

 

2-3 lbs salmon fillets

¼ cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

¼ cup sesame oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar

1” of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons diced green onions or chives

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade.

 

Place salmon in a glass dish and cover with marinade.  Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

 

Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.

 

Place salmon in pan skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.

 

Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

 

Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Wild salmon can contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon.

 

References:

 

https://examine.com/nutrition/how-can-i-increase-testosterone-naturally/

 

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_elements_tbl-eng.php

 

http://thewellnessbusinesshub.com/yes-nutrient-deficiencies-heres-proof-can/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=zinc.mono&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=183&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone/

 

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show?ndbno=15087&fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=0&sort=c&qlookup=&rptfrm=nl&nutrient1=328&nutrient2=309&nutrient3=&subset=0&totCount=5376&measureby=m

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d/