Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:11:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://drmasley.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-PAN1360re-32x32.jpg Steven Masley MD, LLC https://drmasley.com 32 32 Grilled Wild Salmon with Lemon and Dill https://drmasley.com/grilled-wild-salmon-with-lemon-and-dill/ https://drmasley.com/grilled-wild-salmon-with-lemon-and-dill/#comments Fri, 10 Aug 2018 15:55:30 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5798 The post Grilled Wild Salmon with Lemon and Dill appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Summer is a great time for grilled wild salmon. My favorites include king (chinook), silver (coho), or red (sockeye)—if they are fresh, they all taste fabulous. Salmon fillets should appear moist, the red-orange flesh should be intact (not cracked), and the fish should smell like the sea—it should not smell fishy. I prefer fillets with the skin for grilling. If you are buying a whole salmon, look at the eyes—they should be moist and plump.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Marinating Time: 5 minutes

Grilling Time: 8-10 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1.5 to 2 pounds salmon fillet (likely skin covering one side)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ teaspoon paprika
Garnish: 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed or parsley and 4 lemon wedges

Directions:
Preheat grill to 450° (F).
Rinse salmon fillets in cold water. Marinate in a bowl with lemon juice for 5-10 minutes. Lay fillet skin side down on a plate, and sprinkle sea salt, black pepper, dill weed, and paprika over the fillet.

Grill salmon fillet initially skin side down for 6 minutes. To turn, separate the skin from the meat with a metal spatula. Flip the fillet, keeping the skin on the grill and placing the flesh over the skin. Grill another 2-4 minutes until cooked.

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145° (F), which is medium done. Most chefs prefer 125-130° (F), with the center a bit translucent and it will flake easily, as it is more moist and tender. Whichever temperature you choose, don’t overcook past 145° (F) or the fish becomes dry.

To serve, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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How do the French consume cheese, bread, & wine yet stay healthy & slim? https://drmasley.com/how-do-the-french-consume-cheese-bread-wine-yet-stay-healthy-slim/ https://drmasley.com/how-do-the-french-consume-cheese-bread-wine-yet-stay-healthy-slim/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2018 20:05:59 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5785 The post How do the French consume cheese, bread, & wine yet stay healthy & slim? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Not only do the French live longer than average Americans, they are slimmer, too. How can this be possible, especially when they eat lots of bread and cheese and drink wine nearly every day?

Researchers have been talking about this French Paradox since the 1970s, back when we realized that the French ate lots of saturated fat from dairy products and meat, yet they had a low rate for heart disease, while the British and Americans with the same saturated fat intake had a much higher rate of heart attacks and strokes.

Amazingly, the obesity rate in France is just under 10%, while in the US it is more than 30%–we have 300% more people who are overweight.

Some researchers have attributed this French health paradox to red wine consumption, and likely some of the health benefits of moderate red wine consumption play a role, but that’s likely only a small factor, and the reality is that the French drink less wine now than they did in the past, in fact, Americans now have the highest wine intake per person.

Yes, there are benefits to consuming 1-2 servings of wine per day (a serving is 4.5 ounces or 150 ml), as the pigments in red wine block oxidation and lower inflammation. Although drinking more than 3 servings of any form of alcohol, including red wine, is clearly harmful.

Likely more important than wine consumption is that the French eat more of the best foods. If you’ve been following my blogs over time, I’m sure you’ve heard me sing the praises for eating more fiber, especially from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts. The French eat nearly twice as much fiber as Americans, with the average French citizen consuming a bit over 20 grams every day. This clearly plays a positive role.

The French are also more active, as they walk more than the average American as well.

Although the French do eat bread regularly, they don’t consume GMO bread like we do in the US. They have resisted the GMO grain movement and still produce wheat from original strains, and non-GMO wheat likely causes less inflammation than the wheat produced in the US.

The French also consume more probiotics foods. While cheese in the US is largely pasteurized and has far less flavor, French cheese is often raw, unpasteurized, and loaded with beneficial bacteria and fungi, providing a beneficial load of probiotic-rich microbes to support our gut microbiome. The French also eat lots of yogurt and many other fermented foods.

Not only do the French eat more beneficial foods, they use far less hormones, chemicals, and pesticides in their food as well. When they do eat meat or dairy, it is essentially organically and pasture-raised, never given hormones, and if they have steak, they eat a small 3.5 ounce portion.

But it isn’t just the food that is healthier. My final observation regarding the French Paradox is that the French appear less stressed than average Americans. They enjoy long, unhurried meals, they have closer connections to family, and they clearly express that sense of “Joie de Vivre”.

It shouldn’t be overly surprising that the French are able to eat more cheese, bread, and wine and live longer, healthier, and be trimmer than we do in the US when you consider their higher activity levels, greater fiber and probiotic intake, cleaner, less toxic food, and lower stress levels.

As I’m spending the next two summers exploring ports and researching how Mediterranean foods are both healthy and delicious, stay tuned for updates and recipes that will help you to live longer, healthier, and be trimmer.

 

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Wild Rice, Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Garbanzo Bean Salad https://drmasley.com/wild-rice-quinoa-mushrooms-and-garbanzo-bean-salad/ https://drmasley.com/wild-rice-quinoa-mushrooms-and-garbanzo-bean-salad/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2018 17:13:18 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5776 The post Wild Rice, Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Garbanzo Bean Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This flavor pack combo is loaded with nutrients and can be served warm or chilled as a lunch, side dish, or light dinner. Wild rice and quinoa make a lovely texture combination, especially when mixed with sautéed vegetables.

Prep Time: 30 minutes      Simmer Time: 20 minutes     Serves: 4

Ingredients:

¾ cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

4.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 medium onion sweet onion, cut into 1-inch slivers

3 cups of baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

2 cups kale, chopped

15 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked, rinsed, drained

½ cup sliced almonds (or chopped pecans)

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 Directions:

Combine wild rice with 3 cups of vegetable broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45-55 minutes, until rice is chewy and some of the gains have burst open. Drain rice in a strainer and set aside.

Combine quinoa with remaining broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, remove from heat.

Next, heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then onion, mushrooms, salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning, stirring occasionally. Cook about 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add kale and garbanzo beans, reduce heat to medium, and cook another 2-3 minutes, stir occasionally until kale has softened. Remove from heat.

In a sauté pan, heat almonds over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant, but not browned.

Combine rice, quinoa, and vegetable mixture together in a large bowl or serving plater.

You can serve hot or cold. Garnish with almonds and parsley, and drizzle olive oil on top.

Enjoy!

Steven Masley, MD

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Are you sleeping with toxins? https://drmasley.com/are-you-sleeping-with-toxins/ https://drmasley.com/are-you-sleeping-with-toxins/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 19:45:38 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5765 If you’re like me, you may not have put a lot of thought into the impact that our laundry products have on our homes, bodies, and the environment. After all, if there’s an entire aisle at the store full of “trusted brands”, they must be safe, right? Unfortunately, the more I research this topic, the […]

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If you’re like me, you may not have put a lot of thought into the impact that our laundry products have on our homes, bodies, and the environment.

After all, if there’s an entire aisle at the store full of “trusted brands”, they must be safe, right?

Unfortunately, the more I research this topic, the assumption that laundry detergent is safe may be deadWRONG.

Recently, I’ve had the eye-opening experience of getting to know the team behind MyGreenFills – an amazing company with the MASSIVE mission to change the way we think about and do our laundry.

In the time that I’ve known Stephen and his company MyGreenFills, I’ve learned some truly eye-opening facts about the impact that mainstream laundry products have on our health, and these stats are just too important not to share.

DID YOU KNOW that conventional laundry products are one of the highest contributors of household toxicity?

Here’s why…

  • Every minute of your life, (outside of showering) your skin is in constant contact with your clothing, bedding, towels and beyond…
  • +90% of store-bought laundry products are scientifically engineered to leave a chemical cocktail on your fabrics.
  • These chemicals are now in full contact with your skin (the largest organ of your body) all the time. Many of these chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption, respiratory issues, and even cancer.

MyGreenFills is on a mission to change the industry by offering refillable laundry jugs made with plant-based, non-toxic ingredients that work better than the store-bought blue goo.

So my wife, Nicole, and I had a deep discussion about avoiding toxins in our home and we decided to try their products.

Now, for a full disclosure, I have not been very picky about laundry detergent, and truthfully Nicole (my wife) does at least 90% of the laundry in our home. She is super selective about laundry products. So I was pretty amazed that my wife really liked the “quality” of MyGreenFills product.

Their natural detergent was easy to use, the clothes come out clean, and they feel nice on our skin, By using these products, we are exposed to far less toxins, and it is environmentally friendly.

The products are so good that Nicole ordered extras for her sisters, and we are even taking detergent with us to Europe for our summer sailing trip next month.

Pretty cool, right?

BUT WAIT, it gets even better…

Right Now Claim 50 LOADS OF LAUNDRY SOAP FREE!

What is not to like? Non-toxic, eco-friendly laundry products that show up at my door, on my schedule, at a fraction of the cost of other “eco” brands and get my clothes cleaner? I'm SOLD!

Do the right thing for your health, your family, and environment and joining MyGreenFills today for FREE.

See for yourself… I had the pleasure to interview the founder of MyGreenFills, Stephen Ezell. Click here to watch MyGreenFills interview.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Mexican Scrambled Eggs with Black Beans, Salsa, and Corn Tortillas https://drmasley.com/mexican-scrambled-eggs-with-black-beans-salsa-and-corn-tortillas/ https://drmasley.com/mexican-scrambled-eggs-with-black-beans-salsa-and-corn-tortillas/#respond Fri, 27 Jul 2018 19:19:44 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5728 The post Mexican Scrambled Eggs with Black Beans, Salsa, and Corn Tortillas appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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A flavorful and filling breakfast, packed with nutrients and fiber. For the chili ingredient option below, I prefer poblano chilies for their flavor, but they vary from sweet to very spicy, and not every store carries them. Alternatives are canned green chilies or bell peppers, which are sold everywhere.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves:
2

Ingredients:

1 cup black beans, cooked
4 medium corn tortillas
1 tsp avocado olive oil
½ medium sweet onion, diced
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground paprika
1 medium chili pepper (poblano chili, green chili, or ½ bell pepper)
Dash ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
4 large eggs, free-range, organic, omega-3-enriched
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley
¼ cup prepared salsa
1 Tbsp plain yogurt

Directions:

Heat black beans on medium for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, warm tortillas over low heat, flipping occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium-high. Add oil, then sauté onion, salt, and paprika for 1 to 2 minutes, until onion is nearly translucent. Add chili and cayenne pepper, if using, and heat another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whip eggs; then pour over vegetables in sauté pan, stirring occasionally, scrambling eggs gently.

Garnish eggs with cilantro or parsley.
To serve, place eggs on a plate. Serve salsa and beans on the side. Garnish beans with a dollop of yogurt. Enjoy with warmed tortillas, spooning a mix of beans, eggs, and salsa into each tortilla.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley

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What’s the difference between a statin drug & red yeast rice extract? https://drmasley.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-statin-drug-red-yeast-rice-extract/ https://drmasley.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-statin-drug-red-yeast-rice-extract/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2018 20:59:19 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5732 Cholesterol-lowering statin medications (marketed as Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, and Simvastatin, and natural forms of statin drugs—such as red yeast rice extract) are widely used. They have clear benefits for men with both high cholesterol and established cardiovascular/heart disease, yet they are less effective for women and they also have a variety of […]

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Cholesterol-lowering statin medications (marketed as Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, and Simvastatin, and natural forms of statin drugs—such as red yeast rice extract) are widely used. They have clear benefits for men with both high cholesterol and established cardiovascular/heart disease, yet they are less effective for women and they also have a variety of side effects.

Unfortunately, not only do these medications decrease cholesterol, they also reduce the production of compounds in the body that are derived from cholesterol, such as testosterone, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and other substances that repair muscle.

Most people assume the benefit from taking a statin medication is related to its cholesterol-lowering effects, but other important benefits are due to the fact that statins also decrease artery inflammation and they make your blood less sticky, so it’s less likely to clot.

Statin medications cause multiple side effects, so let’s discuss the most common ones:

  • a rise in blood sugar,
  • short-term memory loss,
  • a reduction in CoQ10 levels,
  • muscle aches and muscle breakdown,
  • liver inflammation,
  • Decreased testosterone levels.

All of these have health and nutritional implications. You can offset some of the side effects by eating less sugar and refined carbs and taking a Co-Q-10 supplement daily. But if you experience muscle aches, liver inflammation, or memory loss, then likely you should talk to your physician about stopping the medication and considering alternatives.

As I’ll discuss shortly, if you have any of these side effects, you may find that taking red yeast rice extract provides some of the same statin benefits, but with fewer side effects.

Memory Loss with Statins

Memory loss often described as brain fog, has also been noted by the FDA recently with statin medication use. Adding CoQ10 may help some people with these symptoms, but clearly, it does not help all. There are no studies linking an increased dementia risk with statins, yet I recommend that if you notice memory loss while on a statin medication, you should discuss with your doctor whether stopping it is appropriate. You might consider other cholesterol-lowering options, such as healthier eating, as a start, but red yeast rice extract is another option.

Muscle Aches with Statins

Perhaps the most common complaint when taking a statin medication is muscle aches. Very rarely, this can progress to major muscle tissue breakdown, leading to kidney failure and/or death.

Much more common are diffuse muscle aches that are associated with decreased muscle repair and muscle atrophy. If you notice these symptoms, which occur in nearly 10% of people taking these drugs, talk to your doctor about potentially stopping the medication. In people who don’t tolerate statins due to muscle aches, red yeast rice has been shown in clinical studies to be better tolerated and still be effective.

Reduction in Testosterone Levels with Statins

Finally, drug companies typically fail to mention that statin medications lower testosterone levels. After all, your body uses cholesterol to make testosterone. With less cholesterol available, testosterone levels decrease as well. This drop has been reported in several medical studies. On many occasions, I have seen a man start a statin medication for a cardiac problem and note his testosterone level dropping 50 or more points. For someone with a completely normal testosterone level, say 700 mg/dL, this is unlikely to be a problem.

But a man with a borderline testosterone level (say 340 mg/dL) who begins a statin could lose erectile function, energy, and drive. This person may need to have his physician prescribe testosterone in order to tolerate the statin. Consider talking to your doctor about checking your testosterone level if you take a statin drug— in particular, if you have noticed a drop in energy, libido, drive, and mental sharpness.

This applies to women as well, as both men and women require an adequate amount of testosterone for a normal sex drive.

What Is the Difference Between a Statin Medication and Red Yeast Rice Extract?

A red-pigmented yeast, called Monascus purpureus, can be grown on rice. An extract from this yeast has been shown in numerous studies in China and the United States to help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. The red yeast rice extract produces chemical compounds, called monacolins, which decrease cholesterol production in the liver. The first statin cholesterol medication, lovastatin, was isolated from red yeast rice extract.

In contrast to a drug that contains a high dosage of one type of statin, red yeast rice extract may contain 10-20 or more cholesterol-lowering ingredients. Small dosages of multiple compounds seem better tolerated than a single large dosage of one. In fact, some patients who cannot take a statin medication due to muscle aches or liver inflammation are able to tolerate red yeast rice extract and lower their cholesterol levels.

With my patients, I refer to red yeast rice extract as a cholesterol-lowering drug and I use the same safety concerns as any other medication. The biggest difference between it and a statin medication is that it is available over the counter, while drugs are prescribed by physicians and sold through pharmacies.

Please remember that red yeast rice extract has the potential to have all the same benefits, side effects, and complications as any of the other statin medications if it is given at the same dosage.

The biggest challenge with using red yeast rice extract is finding a high-quality product that is contaminant free and contains the same “drug” dosage with every package. Due to quality concerns with production, my approach is to prescribe a medication first, and if there are side effects, to use the best quality red yeast rice I can find as a second option. An option that I use with my patients can be found here, use code: DFH38082 for 25% off your 1st order.

When Should You Take Red Yeast Rice Extract or a Cholesterol-Lowering (Statin) Medication?

Obviously, I can’t address this adequately here on a personal level for you without knowing your medical history, and the decision to start or continue a medication should be focused on the person as well as the risks and benefits. But below are a few guidelines I use in my practice to help my patients decide when it might be warranted.

  • I invariably recommend that my patients follow my dietary and activity recommendations first and recheck their cholesterol profile. With an optimal eating plan, many people won’t need a statin therapy. I am often amazed at how well optimal eating works.
  • If you have established cardiovascular disease (meaning you have already had a heart attack or stroke, or an abnormal test, such as treadmill stress test), and you still have high cholesterol despite your best efforts, I believe the benefits of using a statin medication, or red yeast rice extract, are greater than the risks.
  • If you have an elevated carotid IMT (intimal medial thickness) plaque score, a high LDL cholesterol level, and your plaque score keeps growing despite your best efforts, talk to your doctor about statin therapy options.
  • In clinical studies, women have been shown to benefit less from taking a statin medication than men, so women should have a stronger reason (such as multiple risk factors for heart disease) to begin this type of therapy, and because of this limitation, they have more to gain from following a healthy lifestyle.
  • A variety of doctors have advocated putting everyone on a statin medication. I think this would be crazy. We need to do more to help people make lifestyle changes so they don’t qualify for these medications. Putting everyone on them would cause tremendous side effects for many people who might not benefit from using them.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Shrimp Kebobs https://drmasley.com/shrimp-kebobs/ https://drmasley.com/shrimp-kebobs/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2018 17:59:30 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5717 The post Shrimp Kebobs appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Grilling fish or meat with vegetables on a skewer is easy, and it’s healthier if you marinate it for 10-15 minutes in an acidic solution in advance. The colors are wonderful served with a mixed green salad.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 15 minutes

Grilling Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

 

Ingredients:

Marinade:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

Skewers:

1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces baby Portabella mushrooms (any small button mushroom will do)

1 medium red onion, skin removed, cut into quarters and separated into thin layers

18 cherry tomatoes

 

Directions:

Set the grill at 450° F, or turn on the broiler. Use 6 metal or wood skewers; if wood skewers, soak them in water while ingredients are marinating.

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl with shrimp, peppers, mushrooms, and red onion. Stir occasionally. Grease the skewers with avocado oil using a paper towel, then skewer red and yellow pepper, onion, mushrooms, alternating with 3 tomatoes and 1/6 of the shrimp per skewer.

Grill or broil for about 10 minutes, until shrimp is pink and cooked, but not dry, turning every 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, toss a mixed green salad with your favorite dressing, and serve kebobs over the salad on plates.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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How to Treat Heartburn, without medication https://drmasley.com/how-to-treat-heartburn-without-medication/ https://drmasley.com/how-to-treat-heartburn-without-medication/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 18:48:08 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5715 Here is a topic dear to my heart, and I’ll share my own personal story below. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus. Symptoms can range from mild burning to severe pain and chest tightness. A little understanding of anatomy helps to appreciate why some therapies work or don’t work. When […]

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Here is a topic dear to my heart, and I’ll share my own personal story below.

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus. Symptoms can range from mild burning to severe pain and chest tightness.

A little understanding of anatomy helps to appreciate why some therapies work or don’t work.

When you swallow food, it passes down the esophagus tube to your stomach. Between the esophagus and the stomach is a valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter. The stomach produces stomach acid, which helps to digest food and enhances nutrient absorption. If the valve closes properly, it keeps the acid in the stomach where it belongs.

The stomach lining is designed to tolerate stomach acid. The esophagus lining does not tolerate stomach acid, and is easily irritated by stomach acid if exposed.

Under normal circumstances, stomach acid signals the lower esophageal sphincter to close. Unfortunately, sometimes this valve doesn’t function properly and opens when it should not. Certain foods impact this valve function greatly.

Factors that cause the lower esophageal sphincter to open inappropriately, allowing acid to pass into the esophagus include:

  • Drinking brown liquids, such as coffee, decaf coffee, black tea, chocolate, and colas.
  • Carbonated beverages tend to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid into the esophagus, making a cola a double negative factor.
  • Alcohol, wine, beer, and hard liquor, although beer might be the worse because it also bubbles upward into the esophagus.
  • Highly fatty foods (think pizza, French fries, and fried food)
  • Eating a heavy meal right before going to bed, as the stomach is full, pushing pressure upwards on the lower esophageal sphincter when you lie down.

The perfect storm for a night of dreadful heartburn would be excess coffee with cream in the morning, sodas at lunch, and a beer, hamburger, and fries less than 2 hrs before going to bed.

Some medications irritate your gastrointestinal lining, and make you more sensitive to mild acid reflux, in particular non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They include Naprosyn, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Aleve, and Advil. Over time, these types of medications can cause major gastrointestinal bleeding. Generally speaking, although they are commonly used and available over the counter, I ask my patients to avoid them.

Nearly 25 years ago, I injured my knee skiing (damaged my ACL and MCL ligaments). My physician at the time suggested I take Naprosyn for a couple of months, which gave me horrible esophageal pain. My doctors suggested Omeprazole (Prilosec), a very potent acid blocking medication. This helped my heartburn, but every time I stopped it, the heartburn returned with a vengeance, even though I no longer used Naprosyn. The challenge now was to get off the omeprazole because of its damaging side effects.

What is wrong with heartburn medications?

Most of the potent heartburn (acid-blocking medications called proton pump inhibitors) are very effective for treating the symptoms of heartburn and blocking stomach acid production, but the problem is that when you stop them, you get a rebound of acid production, making it challenging to get off them.

The problem with these medications is that while they do block stomach acid, you need stomach acid to absorb nutrients, such as vitamin B12, magnesium, and calcium. The nutrient deficiencies are bad enough that most of these medications now have an FDA black box warning that using them can cause multiple problems, including hip and spine fracture. Taking these medications are also associated with a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Not only are you far more prone to nutrient deficiencies, but without stomach acid, many bad bacteria pass into the intestinal tract, and you can develop dysbiosis, which is an abnormal accumulation of bad bacteria in the intestines, causing bloating and indigestion.

Ideally, nobody would need these type of heartburn medications, especially not long term, yet they are easy to obtain now that they are over the counter, and commonly used.

And for people with more severe acid reflux, proton pump inhibitors may be the only treatment that works effectively, so not everyone can avoid them. Plus for some people with pre-cancerous changes in their esophagus, long-term use may be absolutely required.

Yet the sooner you get your heartburn controlled, usually the less serve it becomes and the easier it is to control.

Treatments for Heartburn without medication

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Minimize brown liquid intake (coffee, colas, chocolate) with or without caffeine. As much as I hate to admit it, because I like a cup of coffee in the morning, switching my morning cup of coffee to a cup of green tea greatly reduced my heartburn. (I must share that giving up coffee in the morning wasn’t easy, but it really helped—who knew that one cup of coffee in the morning gave me heartburn all day long.)
  • Avoid excess alcohol, especially before bedtime.
  • Avoid fatty meals, especially before bedtime.
  • Avoid mint, peppermint, and spearmint. Mint relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to escape into the esophagus.
  • Maintain a normal body weight, extra body weight worsens heartburn, as the extra fat on your abdomen pushes on your stomach, pushing acid into your esophagus.
  • Elevate the head of your bed on blocks 3 to 6 inches. If you sleep flat, acid can easily stream into your esophagus at night. Elevating the head of your bed just a few inches keeps acid in your stomach and out of your esophagus. And raising the head of your bed 3-4 inches doesn’t change your sleep much. A website where you can order a wedge for your bed is: http://www.foamandupholstery.com/medical-bed-wedges/
  • For some people, acidic foods induce heartburn as well, so foods you might want to try avoiding include tomatoes, citrus fruits, pineapple, and sauerkraut.

There are a couple natural treatments for heartburn that do not block stomach acid production and aim to heal tissue. These include:

  • Betaine HCL. When you take Betaine (a source of plant-based acid) right before your biggest meal of the day, it helps to close the lower esophageal sphincter and helps you digest your food. Many naturopath physicians aim to restore normal stomach function, rather than block acid production.

Several natural compounds help heal the esophagus. These include:

  • Glutamine (1-2 grams daily)
  • Licorice (400 mg daily)
  • Slippery Elm (200 mg daily)
  • Marshmallow (100 mg daily)
  • There is a product produced by Designs for Health: GI-Revive that includes each of these agents with a one tablespoon serving dissolved in liquid.

Please be aware that long-term heartburn is associated with serious medical problems, including esophageal cancer, and scarring of the esophagus. If you have had issues with heartburn for ten years or more, talk to your physician about whether you should have an upper endoscopy to exclude pre-cancerous changes related to long-term heartburn. If you have symptoms despite taking acid blocking medication, then you need to be evaluated sooner.

If you are able to wean off the most potent acid blockers and shift to a less potent drug (such as Ranitidine or Famotidine) and control your symptoms that would be better.

There are medical conditions when it is appropriate to continue acid blocking therapy indefinitely, such as precancerous changes noted in your lower esophagus, but keep in mind that this will block nutrient and vitamin absorption, making it more important that if you take heartburn medications long-term, you need to ensure you get a high-quality multi-vitamin and take a probiotic source daily.

Heartburn is super common, and the longer you have it, the harder it is to treat.

This approach worked for me and it has helped many of my patients as well. Getting off acid-blocking medications isn’t easy, but you can do it!

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

 

 

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Asparagus and Carrot Spears with Lemon Vinaigrette https://drmasley.com/asparagus-and-carrot-spears-with-lemon-vinaigrette/ https://drmasley.com/asparagus-and-carrot-spears-with-lemon-vinaigrette/#respond Thu, 05 Jul 2018 21:10:21 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5704 The post Asparagus and Carrot Spears with Lemon Vinaigrette appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Look for thick asparagus stalks and baby carrots in the grocery store. The fatter asparagus stalks are much tastier and have better texture than the thin sticks that appear in the winter and fall.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes       Serves: Two

Ingredients:

12 large, thick asparagus spears

6 small carrot spears

Vinaigrette:

½ organic lemon grated for zest

½ lemon, juiced (about 1 ½ Tbsp)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼  teaspoon dried dill weed

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Trim the base off asparagus spears, and trim carrot tops. Steam in a steamer basket about 5-8 minutes depending upon thickness. (Depending upon the size, carrots might need 2 more minutes.) Stalks should be tender, but still al dente, caution—don’t overcook to the point they become soft and mushy. Remove from the heat and dip in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix or whisk vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.

To serve, combine asparagus and carrot spears with vinaigrette. Arrange spears on a serving plate. Serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

 

 

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4th of July Recipes https://drmasley.com/4th-of-july-recipes/ Fri, 29 Jun 2018 19:02:14 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5683 The post 4th of July Recipes appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Blueberry & Strawberry Crumble

Here is a beautiful, delicious, and nutrient-packed dessert.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Baking Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

¼ cup port wine (or substitute with water)

¼ cup maple syrup

2 cups of apples, cored and cut into ½-inch slices

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

½ organic lemon, rind grated

½ organic lemon, juiced

2 cups blueberries

2 cups strawberries, sliced in half

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup pecans chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° (F)

In a saucepan, combine port (or water), maple syrup, apples, cinnamon, and tapioca. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon rind and juice, 1 ½ cups of blueberries, and 1 ½ cups of strawberries, mix and pour into a pie dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat, toast the almonds and pecans for 2-3 minutes, until warmed and fragrant, but not browned.

Remove pie plate, and sprinkle toasted nuts over the top of fruit mixture. Then garnish with remaining blueberries and strawberries. Serve warm or chilled.

 

Tomato-Cauliflower Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

Add this lovely salad to add to your Fourth of July holiday party.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

1 medium cauliflower, sliced into small pieces

8 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced thinly

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thinly

1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

 Blueberry Vinaigrette:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch (1/16th tsp) sea salt

½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

Boil a pot of water. Blanch cauliflower for 2-3 minutes, until al dente. Then place in ice water for 4-5 minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain.

Combine cauliflower, tomatoes, bell pepper, and parsley in a salad bowl.

Pulse dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. Toss with salad and serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Should You Have a CT Scan of the Heart, or a Carotid IMT? https://drmasley.com/should-you-have-a-ct-scan-of-the-heart-or-a-carotid-imt/ https://drmasley.com/should-you-have-a-ct-scan-of-the-heart-or-a-carotid-imt/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2018 19:49:37 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5638 Heart disease remains the #1 killer for women and men, despite that we can prevent 90% of heart disease with lifestyle changes. The primary cause for heart attacks and strokes is the growth of arterial plaque. In an ideal world, you would know the age of your arteries, how much arterial plaque load you carry, […]

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Heart disease remains the #1 killer for women and men, despite that we can prevent 90% of heart disease with lifestyle changes.

The primary cause for heart attacks and strokes is the growth of arterial plaque. In an ideal world, you would know the age of your arteries, how much arterial plaque load you carry, and whether your arterial plaque was growing, shrinking, or staying the same.

There are several ways to assess for arterial plaque growth.

  • ECG stress treadmill testing
  • CT Heart Scan (with or without angiography)
  • Carotid Intimal-Media Thickness (IMT—performed with ultrasound)

ECG Stress Treadmill Testing

The most common plaque measure for people at high risk for a heart attack, or those with symptoms of artery blockage, such as angina, is a treadmill test with continuous ECG monitoring. Once your arteries are 70-80% blocked, you typically display an abnormal test, as the changes noted suggest blocked blood flow. Once you reach 70-80% blocked, you may also qualify for additional procedures, such as a heart catheterization, designed to diagnose and potentially open a blocked artery. The problem is that many people can have a heart attack, stroke, or even die before they reach a 70% blockage. From my perspective, waiting until a person has a 70% blockage is way too late, as this should have been diagnosed at least 10-20-30 years sooner.

Despite the limitations, I really enjoy performing ECG stress testing with my patients, as it is an excellent way to assess their fitness, heart rate recovery, and blood pressure response to exercise. My goal is that they always have a negative stress test, and we use the results to focus on optimizing their fitness and cardiovascular function.

CT Heart Scanning

A CT scan of the heart is one option to diagnose arterial plaque growth long before someone has a 70% blockage. Chest computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses X-rays to create a detailed picture of the heart and its blood vessels. The results are measured as a calcium score of the heart arteries. The higher the calcium score, the more calcified plaque exists. Thus, cardiac CT scanning helps you clarify if you have excessive arterial plaque, and to predict your risk for a future heart attack or stroke.

If you have had a heart scan and your score is high, that means you are at elevated risk for a heart attack or stroke, so clearly you should take action and follow my recommendations to help stop arterial plaque growth, and for the potential to start shrinking your arterial plaque load.

However, there are three reasons that I seldom order a CT heart scan. First, is that each heart scan comes with a dose of radiation. Each heart scan increases your lifetime risk of cancer by about 0.3%. Obviously not a huge risk, but if you had 10 heart scans in your lifetime, you’d increase your risk for a serious cancer by 3%.

Second, CT heart scans do not measure the most dangerous plaque, namely soft plaque growth that can pop like a pimple (called plaque rupture) and cause a heart attack or stroke. Instead, they measure old calcified plaque. If you were to repeat a CT heart scan, you won’t know for sure if your dangerous soft plaque is shrinking, growing, or staying the same. However, if your calcium plaque score increases over time, that does suggest that you are growing more arterial plaque.

The third issue is cost—Heart CT scans are fairly expensive, and most of the time they are not covered by medical insurance.

Carotid IMT Testing:

The plaque in your carotid arteries (the big arteries in your neck going from your heart to your brain) are much easier to measure than the arteries in your heart. Recent studies have shown that when a person has their carotid arteries measured with carotid IMT and a CT heart angiogram (catheterization) of the heart at the same time, 95-97% of the time they produce the exact same results. So this is a super easy, risk-free and effective way to identify body wide arterial plaque growth.

While performing a carotid IMT test in my office, the patient simply lies comfortably on an exam table. I apply warm ultrasound gel on his/her neck over the carotid artery. I gently pass a measuring device from the ultrasound machine over the skin and take pictures of the carotid arteries, which are just beneath the surface. Typically I’ll take 12 or more pictures from the right and left carotid arteries, with different views and angles. The whole process usually takes 10 to 12 minutes. At this point, the patient’s job is done.

I transfer the images to my computer, enlarge them on my screen, and use extremely fancy software to measure the artery lining thickness. These measurements are accurate to hundredths of millimeters. Multiple studies published in major medical journals have already calculated average carotid artery plaque thickness in thousands of men and women. Once I’ve calculated my patient’s score, I can use these figures to project the average age of their arteries. A 50- year- old man/woman, for instance, might have the plaque of a 40, 50, or 60 year- old . . . or someone older, and might never know it (unless he/she was tested).

The cost for this type of testing can vary from $200-$400, depending on the technique and experience of the person performing the test.

I prefer to monitor artery age over time (checking every year or two) to clarify whether my patient’s plaque is growing, staying the same, or (if he/she follows my recommendations long- term) actually shrinking.

The Prevention Group of the American Heart Association considers carotid IMT testing to be an excellent way to assess future cardiovascular disease risk. The group recommends it as a safe and dependable tool. Several studies have confirmed their recommendations.

If performed regularly over years, repeated carotid IMT scans can project the age at which one will become high risk for a heart attack or stroke and, most important, can give us time to recommend the appropriate therapy to prevent and reverse this aging process.

In the past, in fact several years ago, I had the experience of testing my patients with both a CT heart scan and a carotid IMT during a full day comprehensive assessment. With time, and having performed hundreds of each testing modality, my impression was that heart scans did not provide any “extra” useful information. So over time, I stopped ordering heart scans for the following reasons:

  • I have never had an abnormal heart scan and a normal carotid IMT. Plus, sometimes the heart scan missed critical information. As an example, I had a few patients who showed increased arterial plaque growth on carotid IMT testing with yearly repeat testing, yet their Heart CT scan results stayed the same.
  • The heart scan typically costs patients twice as much as the carotid IMT.
  • As noted above, a heart scan adds a dose of radiation exposure that increases the lifetime risk for cancer.

The biggest limitation with arterial plaque measurements is that they are not readily covered by insurance (keep in mind that medical insurance covers the diagnosis and management of a disease—it doesn’t pay for measuring how you age).

One additional drawback of carotid IMT testing is that it isn’t readily available. Though I have people fly from all over the USA and Canada for testing at my clinic, The Masley Optimal Health Center, that isn’t feasible for most. A national company that I think does a great job with carotid IMT testing nationwide is Vasolabs.

Summary

If you’d like to assess your lifetime risk for a heart attack or stroke, especially if you have risk factors for heart disease (such as hypertension, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol levels) I’d highly recommend that at least once, you have a direct measure of your arterial plaque load and hope that your results are normal.

My first choice would be carotid IMT testing. However, if carotid IMT testing is not available in your area, CT Heart Scanning likely is.  I do not recommend annual testing with CT Heart Scans (due to the radiation exposure), but it can be a useful tool when performed once to identify if you have elevated arterial plaque load.

If you do have increased arterial plaque, the good news is that hundreds of my patients have shown that you can shrink your arterial plaque over time by following the recommendation outlined in my 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, and Better Brain Solution books.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

 

 

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Ceviche https://drmasley.com/ceviche/ https://drmasley.com/ceviche/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 16:15:19 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5621 The post Ceviche appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Ceviche is a process that cooks fish using lime or lemon juice with acidity, instead of using heat from a stove or grill. This is a cooking tradition throughout Latin American. The type of fish is far less important than the freshness, I’ll even use salmon to make ceviche—be sure to request the freshest fish available—before they wrap the fish at the store, I like to smell the fish to ensure it isn’t fishy. It should smell fresh like the sea to make great ceviche.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 4-6 hours

Serves: Two

Ingredients

Marinade:

½ cup lime juice (4-6 limes)

¾ pound white fish (snapper, mahi mahi, or tilapia), cut into ¾-inch cubes (bite sized pieces)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Mixture:

2 tablespoons onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons carrot, grated into thin strips

¼ cup cilantro leaves, stems removed (you may substitute parsley if desired)

½ red bell pepper, diced into small pieces

¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)

Serve with black bean chips

Directions:

In a glass bowl, marinate white fish with lime juice and salt for 3-6 hours in the refrigerator, turning the fish occasionally.  When complete, fish should turn from opaque to white. Then drain in a colander and discard used lime juice.

Once fish has been drained, combine onion, carrot, cilantro, bell pepper, and fresh lime juice in a bowl. Add fish and marinate another 20 minutes in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Steven Masley, MD

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How Does Your Gut Microbiome Impact Your Risk for Heart Disease https://drmasley.com/how-does-your-gut-microbiome-impact-your-risk-for-heart-disease/ https://drmasley.com/how-does-your-gut-microbiome-impact-your-risk-for-heart-disease/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 23:00:32 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5605 The post How Does Your Gut Microbiome Impact Your Risk for Heart Disease appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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There are hundreds of recent studies showing that the microbes (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) living in your gut impact your health. The right microbes benefit you, the bad ones cause you harm.

You have trillions of diverse microbes (with 10 times more DNA than the human body) living in your intestines. The proper microbes metabolize toxins and drugs, lower inflammation, help you absorb nutrients, and suppress appetite.

Little more than a decade ago, investigators proposed that the gut microbiome might be contributing to obesity. Since then, the microbiome has been linked to many other health issues, including depression, ADHD, memory loss, menopause symptoms, and most recently heart disease.

How does the microbiome impact risk factors for heart disease?

Risk factors for arterial plaque growth and heart disease include: obesity, elevated blood sugar levels, cholesterol profiles, inflammation, and blood pressure.

Obesity

It is not only the calories that people ingest that affect weight: more specifically it is the calories people absorb from the gut. By increasing or decreasing the amounts of digestible sources of energy, particularly monosaccharides and short-chain fatty acids, gut bacteria affect the number of calories that humans absorb.

Bad bacteria in the gut produce a chemical compound called proprionic acid. Proprionic acid will travel through the blood to the brain, and induce cravings for sugar and refined carbs, which in turn feeds the bad bacteria. Adding more beneficial gut microbes will block proprionic acid production.

Consider a study where lean mice were fed feces from human twins. Feces from the fat twins caused lean mice to become fat, and feces from the lean twins allowed mice to remain lean. When the fat and lean mice were housed together, and ate each other’s feces, the obese mice became lean and their gut flora came to resemble the flora of the lean mice (and the lean human twins).

We have recently discovered that with a fecal transplant (stool delivered from one person to another via an enema), people who are overweight will lose weight and become lean—FYI fecal transplants are not yet approved or available in the USA for weight loss. But this should give you an incentive to protect and promote your gut microbiome.

Elevated blood sugar levels

People with the wrong microbiome microbes will produce relatively more acetate and less butyrate, which increases insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.

In rodents, studies have shown that giving the right probiotic sources will improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

Cholesterol profiles

Cholesterol is converted to bile acids to help with fat digestion—if you are able to increase bile acid production, you lower cholesterol levels.

Since your gut microbiome will modify how many bile acids are produced, if you have the right gut microbes, your gut microbiome can lower your cholesterol levels.

Blood Pressure

Several studies have found that particular members of the right Lactobacillus species in the gut lower blood pressure levels.

Inflammation

Many forms of gut bacteria and fungi will trigger low-grade inflammation in the gut, allowing entry of bacteria and bacterial products into the circulation, and result in high levels of chronic systemic inflammation. Elevated inflammation levels are strongly associated with growth of arterial plaque and a greater risk for heart attacks and strokes. The right gut microbes have been shown to lower systemic inflammation levels.

Summary

Gut microbes influence and reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease (elevated blood sugar levels, obesity, cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation) and thus have the potential to help prevent the #1 killer for women and men.

Be sure to support your microbiome.

  • Eat an abundance of fiber (vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts). Without proper fiber intake, your gut microbiome microbes will starve
  • Avoid antibiotic use unless absolutely required for medical emergencies
  • Consume probiotic foods or supplements daily (sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kefir)
  • Avoid toxins that hurt your microbiome, such as Splenda (an artificial sweetener)

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

 

References

  1. Komaroff  AL.  The microbiome and risk for obesity and diabetes. JAMA. 2017;317(4):355-356.
  2. Sayin  SI, Wahlström  A, Felin  J,  et al.  Gut microbiota regulates bile acid metabolism by reducing the levels of tauro-beta-muricholic acid, a naturally occurring FXR antagonist. Cell Metab. 2013;17(2):225-235.
  3. Pluznick  JL, Protzko  RJ, Gevorgyan  H,  et al.  Olfactory receptor responding to gut microbiota-derived signals plays a role in renin secretion and blood pressure regulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(11):4410-4415.
  4. Wilck  N, Matus  MG, Kearney  SM,  et al.  Salt-responsive gut commensal modulates TH17 axis and disease. Nature. 2017;551(7682):585-589.
  5. Tang  WH, Wang  Z, Levison  BS,  et al.  Intestinal microbial metabolism of phosphatidylcholine and cardiovascular risk. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(17):1575-1584.
  6. Li  DY, Tang  WHW.  Gut microbiota and atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2017;19(10):39.
  7. Heianza  Y, Ma  W, Manson  JE, Rexrode  KM, Qi  L.  Gut microbiota metabolites and risk of major adverse cardiovascular disease events and death: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Heart Assoc. 2017;6(7):e004947.
  8. Wang  Z, Roberts  AB, Buffa  JA,  et al.  Non-lethal inhibition of gut microbial trimethylamine production for the treatment of atherosclerosis. Cell. 2015;163(7):1585-1595.
  9. Loscalzo  J.  Gut microbiota, the genome, and diet in atherogenesis. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(17):1647-1649.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
  10. Boorstin  DJ. The Discoverers. New York, NY: Random House; 1983:330-331.

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Roasted Beets with Spicy Goat Cheese https://drmasley.com/roasted-beets-with-spicy-goat-cheese/ https://drmasley.com/roasted-beets-with-spicy-goat-cheese/#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:00:38 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5592 The post Roasted Beets with Spicy Goat Cheese appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This side dish is packed with wonderful flavors: sweet (beets), spicy (the pepper), and tart (goat cheese) all at once. If you don’t appreciate spicy, then you can substitute a regular green pepper for the Poblano pepper suggested below.  

Caution handling spicy peppers as if you touch one and then touch your face or eyes with your fingers, you can burn your face or eyes. Some people use gloves when handling hot chilis; I just aim to be careful and wash my hands well after handling.

Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes       Baking Time: 60-70 minutes       Serves: Two

Ingredients:

2 large beets, peeled, sliced vertically into quarters

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 poblano chili (or alternatively a green bell pepper)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

4 teaspoons pumpkin seeds

1/8 teaspoon ground paprika

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne (add to taste)

2 ounces (4 tbsp) goat cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° (F).  Rub olive oil over beets and poblano chili and sprinkle on salt and Italian herbs. In an ovenproof baking dish, bake beets and chili for 60-70 minutes, until a fork inserts easily and they are tender.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium heat and heat pumpkin seeds until lightly toasted, not browned. Sprinkle paprika and cayenne over pumpkin seeds. Set aside.

When beets and pepper are baked. Peel skin from pepper, and remove seeds, then dice pepper into pea-sized pieces. In a small mixing bowl, combine diced pepper with goat cheese. Bake (cheese mixture) in the oven for 2 minutes to warm the cheese mixture (or microwave for 30 seconds). Spoon the goat cheese onto two medium serving plates, serve beets over goat cheese mixture, and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper with Eggs Sunny Side Up https://drmasley.com/zucchini-and-red-bell-pepper-with-eggs-sunny-side-up/ https://drmasley.com/zucchini-and-red-bell-pepper-with-eggs-sunny-side-up/#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2018 19:10:20 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5560 The post Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper with Eggs Sunny Side Up appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This dish is super easy to make and very satisfying.

Serves: Two

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon avocado oil

½ medium onion, diced

2 cups zucchini, diced

1 red bell pepper

1 tsp Italian herb seasoning

½ tsp sea salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 large cage-free, organically raised eggs

1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped

Optional: few dashes of hot sauce

Directions:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add avocado oil, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, herbs, and salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, then add bell pepper, reduce heat to medium, and saute another 2-3 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

With a wooden spoon, create 4 openings in your veggie mixture in the skillet big enough for each egg, then crack an egg into each. Cover the sauté pan and heat over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until eggs are cooked. Garnish with basil, and serve.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Should You Start Eating Chilled Potatoes for the Resistant Starch? https://drmasley.com/should-you-start-eating-chilled-potatoes-for-the-resistant-starch/ https://drmasley.com/should-you-start-eating-chilled-potatoes-for-the-resistant-starch/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2018 16:12:13 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5549 The post Should You Start Eating Chilled Potatoes for the Resistant Starch? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Lately, I’ve heard a variety of health experts suggest that it’s healthy to eat potatoes if they are first cooked, and then refrigerated. Let’s break down this claim, and see how much holds true.

First, let’s address resistant starch.

Resistant starch is starch that you can’t digest. It passes through your intestinal tract without being absorbed and your gut bacteria feed on it, breaking it down and fermenting it into short chain fatty acids (such as butyrate), thus feeding and supporting healthy gut bacteria. These short chain fatty acids also support your large intestine, even decreasing your risk for colon cancer.

Sources of resistant starch are beans and lentils, green bananas, rice, oats, and potatoes (sweet and purple potatoes have a bit more resistant starch than white potatoes).

Next, how does chilling a potato impact the glycemic load (sugar load) of eating a potato?

Potatoes have a high sugar load. This is true if we look at the glycemic index (which is the amount of sugar in your bloodstream after consuming 50 grams of carb from a food) and glycemic load (a far more practical measure, which is the amount of sugar in your bloodstream from eating one serving of food).

When you chill a cooked potato, the structure of some of the starch is changed and this process increases the resistant starch load by about 2%, increasing it from 3.3% to 5.2%. So although a 1.9% increase isn’t a big change in overall potato starch, it does increase the resistant starch content by 55%. So if you are going to eat a potato, it makes sense to chill it after cooking, then reheat it, or eat it cold.

Studies have shown that the glycemic index in chilled potatoes is about 25-35% less than in freshly cooked potatoes that are still warm. Keep in mind that 50 grams of carb in a potato is about 1.5 medium sized red potatoes, which is only about 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup—not a very big serving. So if you ate such a small portion, it would lower the glycemic index from high to medium for that food. If you eat a normal sized portion of potato (I’d say at least one cup), the glycemic index would be less if it was chilled before you ate it, but it would still have a high glycemic load and raise your blood sugar level significantly.

What about the type of potato and how to cook it?

White potatoes that are baked and mashed have the highest glycemic load, as they have a glycemic load that is equal to table sugar. Boiled potatoes have 20-25% less glycemic load than baked and baked potatoes. Sweet potatoes and purple potatoes also have about a 20-35% lower glycemic load than white potatoes, and a russet potato has the highest glycemic load of all.

Further, small potatoes have a higher ratio of skin to flesh. Since potato skins have a much lower glycemic load than the flesh, eating small potatoes means getting a lower glycemic load.

Eating your potato with protein and fat can also decrease the glycemic load by another 10%. Again, not a big reduction, but every bit helps.

When you compare a potato with other vegetables, notice the difference in glycemic load in the table below: (Below are 1 cup portions)

Glycemic load from 0 to 9.9 is low, 10 to 19.9 is medium, and 20 and above is high:

Food:                                       Glycemic Load:

Asparagus                                          3

Bell pepper                                        2

Broccoli                                              0

Peas                                                    5

Carrot                                                 2

Small, purple potato, boiled        14-18

Sweet potato, baked                     20-22

Boiled large white potato                21

Baked large white potato              26-33

If you are considering whether to eat potatoes or skip them, hopefully this table will guide you to make the best choice that works for you. Eating other vegetables is still by far the better choice!

If you do eat potatoes on occasion, it is better if they are small instead of large, purple or sweet potato instead of white potatoes, and chill the potato first in the refrigerator and serve it cold or hot later.

Keep in mind that potatoes are also on the dirty dozen list, so if you buy potatoes, be sure to buy organic!

Here is how my wife, Nicole, and I on occasion use potatoes at home. We often make a soup of the week on weekends and eat it for lunch during the week. If we choose to include potatoes in the soup, we buy small, organic purple or red potatoes, and cook them in the soup (boiled). We store and refrigerate them in glass containers, and we likely only get one-quarter of a cup of potatoes per lunch serving. We add lots of other vegetables and either cooked beans or other clean animal protein to the soup as well, allowing a few delightful potato bites, but with an overall low glycemic load, and loaded with fantastic flavors.

What about selecting and chilling other sources of resistant starch, such as beans, oats, rice, and pasta?

If you are disappointed that even chilled potatoes have a fairly high glycemic load, keep in mind that beans, oats, and unripe bananas have a lower glycemic load than potatoes, and they are also a good source of resistant starch. So if you’d like to benefit from eating more resistant starch, then eat more beans, oats, and unripe bananas.

Glycemic Load and Resistant Starch Content of Other Foods: (1 cup serving)  

Glycemic Load 1st # and then Resistant Starch Content (grams/100 grams food)

Steel-cut oats                         9                                  11

Beans                                     10                                3-6

Brown rice                             22                                2-3

Boiled potato                         21                                3

Boiled, cooled, white potato  16-17                        5

Banana (unripe)                     10                                5

Whole grain pasta                 15-18                           2-3

Chilling beans, rice, and pasta lowers the glycemic load of these foods as well. Thus, serving chilled beans, pasta, and brown rice that has been chilled and then served in a salad or re-heated in a stir fry will lower the glycemic load as well.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Avocado, Cucumber, and Garbanzo Salad https://drmasley.com/avocado-cucumber-and-garbanzo-salad/ https://drmasley.com/avocado-cucumber-and-garbanzo-salad/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2018 20:26:01 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5544 The post Avocado, Cucumber, and Garbanzo Salad appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are packed with taste and nutrition, and we make good use of them in the Smart Fat Solution. You can use ones that are canned if you don’t cook your own—just rinse them well. This salad is easy to put together; enjoy it as either a side dish or a light meal. Lightly toasting the almonds (or any raw nuts you use in recipes) always brings out their flavor.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

½ medium seedless cucumber, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

⅛ teaspoon sea salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 medium avocado, sliced

1–2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Directions:

Combine garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomatoes, and parsley (reserve 2 tablespoons parsley for garnish) in a salad bowl. Whisk together garlic, salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl and add to salad. Toss well and divide between two plates. Garnish each salad with avocado, almond slivers, and remaining parsley. Serve immediately.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Why Does Gum Inflammation Cause Heart Attacks & Memory Loss? https://drmasley.com/why-does-gum-inflammation-cause-heart-attacks-memory-loss/ https://drmasley.com/why-does-gum-inflammation-cause-heart-attacks-memory-loss/#comments Tue, 29 May 2018 03:16:22 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5531 The post Why Does Gum Inflammation Cause Heart Attacks & Memory Loss? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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The gum surface area of your mouth is about the same size as the surface area of your arm. If your entire right arm had a red rash, you would notice and seek medical attention, yet too often I see patients who don’t even notice when their gums are red and inflamed.

Gum inflammation is called gingivitis, inflammation of the gums. The cause of this inflammation is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms between the teeth and the gums, creating a layer of plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed daily by brushing, flossing, and/or water picking, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue.

Over time, the gums will bleed and recede, meaning more and more tooth is exposed, and less and less is protected by the gums. Long term, this can lead to a person losing their teeth.

Yet this inflammation is not only limited to your gums. Studies have shown that gingivitis will increase body-wide inflammation dramatically, as people with gum inflammation have nearly double the high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) blood levels compared to people with healthy gums. This inflammation makes you achier, it slows your calorie burn rate and injures your tissues body wide. The good news is that proper dental care will heal your gums and bring your hs-CRP levels back to normal.

Studies have also shown that not only does gingivitis make you achy and cause you to gain weight; it increases your risk for arterial plaque growth as well. Dr. Desvarieux and colleagues followed 420 subjects over 3 years. Those with the most gum inflammation showed the most arterial plaque growth, as measured with carotid intima-media thickness scores (carotid IMT). Other studies have shown that not only does gingivitis cause plaque growth, but it increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by 25-30%.

Gum disease is also associated with an increased risk of memory loss and a drop in cognitive scores.

Several recent studies have shown that people with the most gum inflammation also have:     

• Lower scores in the Mini-Mental State Examination test. (Sochocka, Curr Alzheimer Res, 2017).
• Decreased word fluency test scores (Naorungroj, J Am Dent Ass, 2016)
• And after 10 years of gum inflammation, a 70% greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. (Chang-Kai Chen, Alzheimers Res Ther, 2017).

Fortunately, the solution to preventing gingivitis is pretty darn easy:
1. Avoid eating sugar and refined processed foods that feed the bacteria that grow between your gums and teeth.
2. Brush your teeth twice per day.
3. Floss your teeth once per day.
4. Use a water pick once per day.
5. See your dental hygienist 2-4 times per year to help clean away plaque that forms between your teeth and gums.

Your smile will be brighter and whiter, your breath fresher, and taking care of your teeth and gums will help you to feel better and prevent both heart disease and memory loss.

I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

PS: If you found this blog helpful, or you think a friend or family member would benefit from this information, please forward this blog to them.

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Chocolate Mousse https://drmasley.com/chocolate-mousse/ https://drmasley.com/chocolate-mousse/#comments Thu, 24 May 2018 18:57:40 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5522 The post Chocolate Mousse appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Here is one of my wife’s best desserts. Nicole’s father was French, and he loved dessert. She has spent years working on a healthy version of this fantastic recipe. This recipe adapted from my latest book, The Better Brain Solution—(available where books are sold). Cautionary Note: avoid consuming multiple servings of this dessert as when xylitol is consumed in excess it can cause gastrointestinal distress. Alternatively, use maple syrup instead of xylitol.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Chill Time: 1-24 hours

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

½ cup freshly brewed organic coffee (decaf or regular)

1/3 cup xylitol (alternatively to avoid xylitol, you can use ½ cup maple syrup)

1/8 tsp sea salt

4 ounces dark chocolate (aim for 80% cacao)

½ cup unprocessed, unsweetened cocoa powder

12 ounces organic silken (soft) tofu

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or brandy)

3 tablespoons grated organic orange zest

Directions:

Heat the coffee, xylitol (or maple syrup), and salt in a saucepan, until gently bubbling.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the chocolate chips and cocoa until finely chopped, almost powdered. With the processor running, slowly and cautiously pour in the hot coffee mixture and process until the chocolate has melted. Turn off the processor.

Add the tofu, Grand Marnier, and 2 tablespoons of the orange zest and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into six serving containers. Garnish with the remaining orange zest. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before serving.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley

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Is Mercury Hurting Your Brain? https://drmasley.com/is-mercury-hurting-your-brain/ https://drmasley.com/is-mercury-hurting-your-brain/#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 20:31:41 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5504 The post Is Mercury Hurting Your Brain? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Mercury is a common element on planet Earth, and it is concentrated in coal. As the planet burns coal to generate 40% of the world’s energy supply (over 4 billion tons per year), we release thousands of tons of mercury into the atmosphere and as a result, mercury levels are increasing worldwide in our planet’s oceans.

Unfortunately, mercury is a neurological toxin, meaning it is harmful to your brain and your nerves. High levels over time can cause brain injury and neuropathy (diffuse nerve disease).

As part of my comprehensive medical evaluation, I measure mercury levels in all my patients at the first visit. After over 1000 evaluations, I’ve discovered that about 30% of my patients have elevated mercury levels, and 5-10% have early signs of harm related to high mercury levels, so it’s feasible that this includes you.

Where does mercury come from, and who is at risk for mercury toxicity?

Algae (seaweed) absorbs mercury from the water in a form called methylmercury, which is toxic to human brains. As small fish and shrimp eat algae, they accumulate methylmercury in their tissues. As larger and larger fish eat bigger fish as they move up the food chain, methylmercury levels increase substantially. Typically, the larger the mouth of a fish, the higher fish eat on the food chain, and usually the higher their tissue level of mercury.

Shark, tilefish, bluefin tuna, and swordfish are at the top of the food chain and have very high mercury levels. Grouper, snapper, bass, and albacore tuna have moderate methylmercury levels. In contrast, fish that eat low on the food chain (wild salmon, trout, sole, cod, and shellfish) have low methylmercury levels.

People will detoxify and eliminate some of the mercury eaten, but the challenge is whether you consume more than your liver can eliminate. Everyone is different.  People with normal mercury elimination can eat seafood such as salmon or shrimp 2-3 times per week, plus consume grouper or snapper 3-4 times per month without accumulating mercury in their tissues, yet for a few people, grouper and snapper even 2-3 times per month may be too much.

Most laboratories set normal ranges for whole blood mercury levels and a level less than 11 µg/L (sometimes called parts per million, ppm) would be considered normal. Some of my clinic patients who consume tuna, grouper, or swordfish 1-2 time per week may have mercury levels that are 2-3 times the normal level, sometimes with levels are as high as 25-45 µg/L. This would put them at risk for permanent neurological injury.

Another source of mercury is dental fillings that contain amalgam. While substantial controversy exists regarding the toxicity and safety of dental amalgam fillings (I recommend avoiding them), amalgam fillings have been shown to release mercury into the bloodstream and can be measured in the blood and the urine. In contrast to big mouth fish intake, dental fillings likely don’t increase whole blood mercury levels more than 2-4 µg/L points.

What are signs of mercury toxicity?

As mercury is a neurological toxin, the first signs of neurotoxicity relate to these tissues. Mercury toxicity signs include:

  • Decreased brain function (published research from my clinic has shown significant decreases in brain information processing speed when mercury levels are >15 µg/L
  • Memory loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Hearing loss
  • Paresthesias (tingling or burning in the feet or toes from neuropathy)

How to Measure Mercury Levels?

A whole blood sample is a good indicator of methylmercury levels. Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and live about 120 days. As mercury tends to accumulate in deep tissues, such as brain and bone marrow, sampling red blood cells for methylmercury levels provides an excellent means to assess continuous low-level mercury consumption and accumulation levels. A physician simply orders a laboratory test for mercury from whole blood or from red blood cells. Some medical providers prefer hair or toenail mercury levels, but I find these less reliable. Please make sure that your doctor does not accidentally order a serum mercury level (happens often) as a serum blood levels filters out the red blood cells, and it is not an appropriate measurement.

Testing mercury levels is not a routine part of usual health care. Yet, if you have either symptoms of memory loss, tinnitus, or paresthesias, or if you eat big mouth fish more than 3-4 times per month, asking your doctor to check your mercury level makes good sense.

Again, hopefully, you’ll find that you have a normal mercury level, which would be less than 11 µg/L.

How to Make Sure Mercury Isn’t Hurting Your Brain?

If you have symptoms of memory loss, tinnitus, or neuropathy, ask your doctor to measure your mercury with a whole blood mercury level).

If you eat big mouth fish more than 3 times per month, preferably eat less, or if that isn’t realistic, then check your mercury level, before you get in trouble. It is much easier to prevent problems than to treat them, especially those that are associated with your brain!

How to Treat High Mercury Levels and Mercury Toxicity? There are three primary ways to treat mercury toxicity:

If you have elevated mercury, especially if you also have neurological symptoms:

  • Stop ingesting so much mercury and eat less big mouth fish
  • If you have amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about gradually removing them over time, and replacing with porcelain material
  • Increase your ability to detoxify and remove mercury. Foods and supplements help; see the link below.
  • You can also use oral chelation (chemically bind and remove it), but with chelation be cautious. INTRAVENOUS CHELATION CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH IF NOT DONE PROPERLY!     

Be cautious regarding how chelation is performed and who offers your treatment.

For additional information on how to treat elevated mercury levels, please visit my Dr. Masley website resource section with details on Mercury Rx at: https://drmasley.com/mercury/

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Brussels Sprouts with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce https://drmasley.com/brussels-sprouts-with-lemon-yogurt-sauce/ https://drmasley.com/brussels-sprouts-with-lemon-yogurt-sauce/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 16:08:18 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5491 The post Brussels Sprouts with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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This side dish combines wonderful classic flavors: savory roasted Brussels sprouts with the tartness of lemon juice and creaminess of yogurt—it is lovely. It is also packed with brain supporting nutrients and fats.

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Roasting Time: 25 minutes

Serves: Four

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground paprika

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts (6 cups or 680 grams), stems trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise

½ medium red onion, sliced into long thin strips

Sauce:

½ medium organic lemon, grated zest and juice

¼ cup organic, low-fat yogurt

½ teaspoon sesame seeds

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° (F). In a large bowl, combine olive oil, Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Add Brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated with oil and herbs. Transfer Brussels sprouts to a roasting pan. Roast in the oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Switch to broil and heat for another 5 minutes, until lightly golden, but not heavily browned.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, and yogurt together until creamy.

Serve Brussels sprouts on a plate, drizzle sauce over them. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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Do You Need to Detox? https://drmasley.com/do-you-need-to-detox/ https://drmasley.com/do-you-need-to-detox/#comments Mon, 14 May 2018 22:22:00 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5478 The post Do You Need to Detox? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Spring is in the air. Is it time for spring cleaning in your home?  At least once per year, my wife and I go through the spice drawer, check out cooking oils in the pantry, look at condiments and jars in the refrigerator, and throw out items that are old and/or expired.

We’ll clean out closets and unused spaces, bang the dust out of our carpets outside, get the blower and clean out the garage. We change the filters in the air system, too.

And then,,,,,,,,,,I start thinking about an internal spring cleaning.

Do we need to do a detox?

Even if we are careful, we likely accumulate toxins, and typically they are hiding in our fat, liver, and bone marrow, slowly leaking into our bloodstream.

We accumulate heavy minerals and PCB toxins from big mouth fish (especially mercury). We get BPA from the linings of cans and cartons, and pesticides build up in our system rapidly if we consume meat, poultry, or dairy from animals fed in feedlots. We will still get trace amounts of pesticides even if we focus on wild and free-range animal products, and/or organic fruits and vegetables, beans, and other foods.

I think all of us would benefit from an annual internal spring cleaning to help get rid of toxins that we have accumulated over time. This practice is commonly called a detox, and I highly recommend that you do this for at least 5-7 days each year.

To push toxins out of our fat and liver so that we can metabolize and excrete them, I recommend partial intermittent fasting each day. Don’t eat anything after 9 pm at night, and continue to avoid eating until noon the next day. Ideally, load up on vegetables with dinner before starting your fast. It isn’t that hard to do, as you can have coffee or tea in the morning, just don’t add sugar, a sweetener, or milk, and make sure you use organic coffee or tea.

If you can’t make it to noon because you are too hungry during the first few days, it’s ok to add a tablespoon of organic ghee (clarified butter) to your coffee or tea as well, and that will keep you breaking down fat for energy, but take away that sense of hunger.

This form of fasting will break down fat, release ketones, and flush toxins out of your system. Be sure to hydrate with ample fluid.  I recommend drinking at least four liters of fluid daily (such as pure water or green tea).

To boost my fat burn, I aim for a workout each morning during a detox. Not only will I burn more calories during my fast and break down additional fat as energy, but my workout induced sweat helps to eliminate some of the toxins as well. Exercise also speeds up metabolism and helps enhance toxin metabolism (More on the benefits, risks, and limitations of sweating during a detox in a moment).

Certain foods and supplements increase your ability to remove, detoxify and excrete heavy metals and toxins.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, and cabbage) are high on the list, as they contain sulfuranes, which help your liver remove toxins from your system.

Garlic, shallots, and onions are another source of potent detoxifying foods. They are loaded with sulfur, which helps you rid the body of toxins. Garlic, in particular, has been used for thousands of years to detox and improve health. To benefit, don’t use deodorized garlic, as the garlic fragrance has the active agents. And avoid overcooking garlic, since it turns bitter when overcooked and loses its detoxification activity—best is to add it during the last one or two minutes of cooking on low heat. Onions and shallots retain much of their nutrient content with cooking, so you can use them any way you choose.

Green tea is also a potent detoxifier, so drink it during the day.

For lunch and dinner, curry spices enhance detoxification, so if you like curry, this is the time to enjoy curry dishes.

During a 5-7 day detox, I recommend that you consume:

  • Two garlic cloves per person daily; try mincing raw garlic and adding it to a salad or side of vegetables, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  • ¼ to ½ onion per person daily, used in stir-fry dishes and served any way you like them.
  • 1-2 cups of cruciferous veggies per person per day.
  • Plus, ¼ to ½ cup of broccoli spouts sprinkled on salads or blended in a smoothie every day.
  • 6-8 cups of green tea per day. I typically have 3-4 cups of organic regular green tea in the morning, and then decaf green tea in the afternoon and evening. If you are caffeine sensitive, then just drink decaf green tea all day, and either hot tea or iced tea is fine.
  • Obviously, if you have a food intolerance to something listed above, then continue to avoid those foods.

There are also some foods that you should avoid during a fast. Nightshade plants can slow down some key aspects of liver detoxification: these include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, including cayenne pepper and paprika. On a daily basis, you don’t have to avoid nightshade plants, unless you have a specific intolerance to them, but during a detox, avoid them.

Even more important is that you absolutely avoid all alcohol during a detox. Alcohol blocks liver detoxification. The last thing you want during a detox, when you are releasing toxins from your fat stores into your bloodstream, is to delay your ability to metabolize and eliminate them. This means zero alcohol from start to finish.

Some supplements are excellent additions to a detox; take them during the detox and for at least one week afterward to help clear away any lingering toxins in your system.

  • To support your detox process, take a curcumin supplement with 1000 mg daily.
  • A good quality fiber supplement will also help pull toxins from your system into your gut and can be eliminated in your stool. Consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of Fiber-Blend with water or in a smoothie as well.
  • Milk thistle provides liver support and is useful during a detox as well. A good milk thistle option that also provides additional detox support with added N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, methionine, L-cysteine, and taurine would be Hepato-Thera.

Beyond food and supplements, sweating is another way to help remove toxins. Aim to sweat during a workout every day. Humans have also used sweat lodges for tens of thousands of years to improve many aspects of health. It remains a great tradition. During a 5-7 day detox, schedule time for a sauna or steam bath, or enjoy a steamy hot bath instead.

Although it is scientifically correct to say that you do remove some toxins with your sweat glands, most of the toxin removal daily and during a detox occurs through your liver and kidneys. Yes, studies have shown that sweat contains bi-phenol-acetate (BPA) and heavy metals, and in fact, sweat has been shown to have more than 10 times the concentration of lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium than blood. However, the reality is that sweat is 98-99% water, and most toxins are removed by your liver and kidneys. So thinking that the only thing you need to do to get rid of toxins is sweat would be silly.

I have read articles where doctors are concerned that patients overuse sweating with a detox and make themselves dehydrated to the point that they become dizzy, and I share this concern, as that is clearly overdoing a good thing. Sweating is only one of the many tools to help you detox, and your liver and kidneys will do most of that work. A good sweat is nice, excess is overdoing it.

During a detox, keep in mind that you are pulling toxins from bone and fat and eliminating them. Many people experience some short-term symptoms while they are eliminating toxins, as toxins are circulating in the bloodstream when they are removed. Common symptoms during a detox can include skin rashes, smelly stools and urine, congestion, headaches, and muscle aches. Despite these short-term issues, the benefits of removing toxins outweigh these discomforts. If your symptoms are severe, you might be more sensitive, or you might suffer from a heavier toxin load. If this applies to you, stop the detox, and talk to your doctor for guidance.

Now that you know what to do, are you ready?

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

PS: If you have a friend or family member who needs help doing a fast, or should consider a fast, please forward this blog to them.

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Avocado with Eggs en Cocotte https://drmasley.com/avocado-with-eggs-en-cocette/ https://drmasley.com/avocado-with-eggs-en-cocette/#comments Thu, 10 May 2018 19:25:44 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5466 The post Avocado with Eggs en Cocotte appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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Baked eggs with avocado creates awesome flavors and a creamy texture. This is super easy to make. In French, “oeufs en cocotte” refers to cooking eggs in single ramekin containers, and classically with cream or butter added to the ramekin as well. I think this is even better with avocado.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Baking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: Two

Ingredients:

2 Haas Avocados

4 large cage-free, organically raised eggs

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon flat leaf parsley, diced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).  Slice avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pits. Remove 3-4 teaspoons of avocado from the center to form a bigger hole.

Crack each egg into each avocado opening. If needed to ensure avocado doesn’t tip over, place in a muffin pan.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, and parsley over egg and avocado. Bake for ~14-17 minutes and serve. My preference is to cook eggs such that the egg white is completely set, and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.

 Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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What foods should you buy organic? https://drmasley.com/what-foods-should-you-buy-organic/ https://drmasley.com/what-foods-should-you-buy-organic/#comments Mon, 07 May 2018 22:05:45 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5462 Nobody will likely tell you to consume more pesticides, yet every single day, the average American eats foods that are sprayed with these nasty chemicals. The questions I get often from my patients about organic foods and pesticides are, “what should I buy organic?”, and “when can I save some money and buy non-organic products?” […]

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Nobody will likely tell you to consume more pesticides, yet every single day, the average American eats foods that are sprayed with these nasty chemicals. The questions I get often from my patients about organic foods and pesticides are, “what should I buy organic?”, and “when can I save some money and buy non-organic products?

It is hard to get statistics on the source of pesticides in the American food supply, but up to 80% of pesticides consumed by Americans today have been reported by non-governmental agencies (national groups promoting healthy eating) to come from eating meat, poultry, and dairy.

I was recently asked to speak at a physician education meeting on cancer and nutrition, and I had a challenging time researching this topic. I spoke to nearly a dozen people working for the FDA and couldn’t get a detailed answer on sources for pesticides.

We have known for some time that the more pesticides you consume, the greater your risk for cancer, which does not seem like a surprise.

But in researching for my new book, The Better Brain Solution, I was very surprised to discover that those who had the highest pesticide levels in their blood had a whopping 350% greater risk of getting dementia than people with low levels.  Another study published in Taiwan found that even a single acute incident of heavy pesticide exposure would double a person’s lifetime risk for dementia.

Why is pesticide exposure higher in animal protein than on vegetables? Because pesticides accumulate in animals in their fatty tissues over their lifetime. If you eat this animal fat, you consume that accumulated exposure all at once. With vegetables, some of the pesticides will wash away and they don’t accumulate nearly as much over time.

So if you really want to decrease your pesticide intake, start by either going vegetarian or avoiding animal protein unless it comes from wild or organically raised sources. This includes beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy products—especially if you are eating the fat. If you would like a source of animal protein that is organically and pasture raised, consider Butcher Box. They offer grass-fed and pasture-raised organic animal protein options. Click this link HERE to see for yourself.

With fruits and vegetables, an easy way to limit your pesticide exposure is to identify the dirty dozen list, created by the Environmental working group.

Produce with the highest levels of pesticides includes:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

For these foods, pick organic whenever possible.

If you are concerned that buying organic food is going to bust your budget, then buy foods from the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15”, as these foods are the least likely to have been sprayed with pesticides.

Clean Fifteen foods that you DO NOT need to buy organic include:

  1. Avocado
  2. Pineapple
  3. Cabbage
  4. Onions
  5. Sweet Peas
  6. Papaya
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mango
  9. Eggplant
  10. Honeydew Melon
  11. Kiwi
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Cauliflower
  14. Grapefruit

#15 on the list is corn.

I am separating out corn because even though it may not be sprayed with pesticides, some GMO (genetically modified corn) corn can produce its own pesticides internally. So even though it isn’t sprayed, it could potentially be harmful. I only recommend non-GMO corn, differing from the Environmental Working Group’s recommendations.

Other products that are not on the toxic list from the Environmental Working Group, but are heavily sprayed, include coffee and tea. If you drink coffee and/or tea, buying it organic is better for you, the growers, and for the environment.

Can’t you just wash off the pesticides and not worry about organic products?

With fruits and vegetables, you can wash away some, but not all of the pesticides. Here is what I do with produce in my kitchen after shopping.

  1. First I fill the sink with cold water and I add hand soap. Then I wash all the organic produce and then rinse off the soap and set aside. Lastly, I put the washed produce in the refrigerator or in a basket on the kitchen counter (such as tomatoes).
  2. Then I rinse the non-organic produce in the same soapy water and rinse off the soap. Lastly, putting away this second round of washed produce.

This process obviously won’t work with meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, as the pesticides are in the fat of the animal protein—you can’t just wash them away.

One strategy to lower your pesticide intake if you can’t find organically raised animal protein, is to buy lean instead, as most of the pesticides are in the fat. Non-fat dairy means far less pesticides, leaner cuts of meat and poultry have less as well.

You don’t have to break the bank to eat healthy food. But you do need to pay attention to the food you buy.  I hope these tips will help you and your family avoid toxic chemicals found in your own food.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Berry Crumble https://drmasley.com/berry-crumble/ https://drmasley.com/berry-crumble/#comments Fri, 04 May 2018 20:13:18 +0000 https://drmasley.com/?p=5446 The post Berry Crumble appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.

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When we invite company to our home, the most typical dessert I will serve is a berry crumble. You can combine any combo of fruit (blueberries, peaches, apples, or pears) with any type of nut (pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts, pistachios, or macadamias) and not only is it delicious, but it is also loaded with brain-boosting nutrients. If you want a touch of extra sweetness, you could add a few tablespoons of a natural sweetener, such as Xylitol, but honestly, I don’t think you’ll need it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Baking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1/3 cup port wine

1 tablespoon organic lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1 medium lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 medium bosc pears, cut into ¾ inch cubes

2 cups blueberries (fresh, or frozen)

2 cups raspberries (fresh, or frozen)

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° (F).

In a saucepan, combine port, lemon zest, lemon juice, tapioca, and cinnamon and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add the cubed pears and simmer for 4 minutes. Add berries and remove from heat.

While the above sauce is simmering, heat a small saute pan to medium heat. Toast the pecans until warm and fragrant, but stop before they brown.

Pour fruit sauce into a pie plate. Sprinkle toasted pecans over the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes and serve in bowls.

Enjoy,

Steven Masley, MD

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