Friday, October 30, 2015

Ways to Lower Chronic Inflammation through Food (Part 2)

How to Lower Chronic Inflammation through Food (Part 2)
Researchers are learning how food, not drugs, can cure and prevent diseases by lowering inflammation.
In part 1 of our series on chronic inflammation, we discussed ways chronic inflammation causes harm to the body and has been linked to chronic diseases, such as Crohn's disease and even cancer. Part 2 will discuss ways food can minimize chronic inflammation.
Clearly, chronic inflammation is harmful and should be avoided. Harvard Health Publication published an article outlining effective ways to lower inflammation. We will reshare their excellent tips and strategies below.
According to Harvard healthy, the pharmacy is not the most powerful way to fight inflammation, it’s through food. They quoted Dr. Fran Hu,  professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. He said, “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” Some food can minimize inflammation while others exasperate, so it is important to choose wisely.
Many of the foods we know to be unhealthy, also increase inflammation. The following is a list of foods that  increase inflammation
  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and cookies
  • processed and red meat, such as hot dogs and steak
  • fried foods, such as french fries
  • margarine, shortening, and lard
Dr. Hu said, “Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation… It’s not surprising since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”
Moreover, the foods listed above contribute to weight gain, which is another contributor to inflammation. Many studies have shown, however, that weight is not the primary component of inflammation. “Some of the food components or ingredients may have independent effects on inflammation over and above increased caloric intake,” says Dr. Hu.

The following is a list of foods that can lower or minimize inflammation
  • green leafy vegetables
  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges)
Fruits and vegetables, that are high in natural antioxidants and Polyphenols, protective compounds found in plants, are particularly useful in minimizing inflammation. Examples are such fruits include blueberries and apples. Surprisingly, coffee contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, “may protect against inflammation as well.”

The Mediterranean diet, which we have previously discussed on our Kay’s Blog, is listed as a guideline for individuals interested in reducing their levels of inflammation. The essential guidelines of the Mediterranean diet contribute to a low inflammation diet because it “is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.”

Additionally, according to Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, food high in sugar can elicit inflammation by causing an “overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.”

Kay’s Naturals is an advocate of healthy living. We believe that a healthy food can lead to better health and an enhanced our well being. That is why our entire line of products is all-natural, low-sugar, low-carb, and low-fat. We allow individuals to enjoy healthy snacks that will not increase inflammation. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals, click here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why and How to Lower Inflammation

What is Inflammation? (Part One)
Anything within our digestive tract, from mouth to stomach to bowel, is considered an external substance. The digestive system carefully breaks down what is healthy to allows favorable substances, like nutrients and proteins, to be absorbed into the body the small intestine. What is not wanted is removed from the digestive system as waste. Unavoidably, foreign substances will sneak their way inside. It is the responsibility of the immune system to destroy foreign substances, which includes viruses, pathogens, chemicals, etc. Its the job of a strong immunes systems keeps the body healthy and protected.
What happens when the immune system becomes confused? For some, the immune system mistake something natural or healthy as a foreign invader. Autoimmune diseases and allergies are an overaction of the immune system towards something it mistakenly considers foreign or harmful.
Inflammation occurs whenever the immune system goes on the defense. According to Pub Med Health, inflammation causes redness, swelling, loss of function, and pain. Inflammation is visible when it is protecting the body from an infection on a skin wound. Fluid is carried to the inflamed tissue by the defense cells, causing swelling. Inflammation increases permeability of narrow blood vessels to allow more defense cells to the site an infection to assist in the fight against foreign invaders. Loss of function happens when organs become inflamed. This is evident when someone loses their sense of smell during a cold, has difficulty breathing during Bronchitis, or has restricted movement from Rheumatoid arthritis.
There are two kinds of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute last for a few minutes or hours, while chronic inflammation lasts for day or longer. Signs of acute inflammation is often more pronounced than chronic inflammation, but often chronic inflammation more often occurs when there has been greater injury to cells. To learn more about the differences of acute and chronic inflammation. we suggest this article published by John Hopkins University.
Inflammation is beneficial when the immune system is protecting the body from harmful substances. Othertimes, chronic inflammation can cause disease and drain the body of its resources and energy. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body fights against its own cells by mistake. The consequence of chronic inflammation include poor health and chronic illness. According to Harvard Health Publications, “many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.”  
Examples of chronic inflammation include crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These result from chronic inflammation of the bowel. Rheumatoid arthritis is the chronic inflammation of the limbs and psoriasis is from chronic inflammation of the skin.
Clearly, chronic inflammation should be avoided. Researchers are still learning about the causes and effects of chronic inflammation. What we do know is the chronic inflammation lowers general health and can be treated, at least in part, by healthy eating habits. To learn ways to decrease chronic inflammation through food, read our second article, ‘Ways to Lower Inflammation’  in our series on the causes and effects of inflammation.
Kay’s Naturals was created by food scientist Masoud Kazemzadeh. He was driven to develop a diabetic friendly snack that was both tasty and healthy. His motivation for healthy snacks inspired him to create Kay’s Naturals. Our entire line is all-natural, low fat, high protein, low-sugar, and gluten-free. Plus, we do not skimp on crunch and taste! We are passionate about health and wellness.To learn more about Kay’s Naturals, visit our website!

Friday, October 16, 2015

What is Prediabetes? Know why it's important to you

Prediabetes is a health concern that should be on everyone’s radar.  It’s a largely preventable condition with significant health risks and has grown significantly in the United States. According to the study, “Do Behavioral Risk Factors for Prediabetes and Insulin Resistance Differ across the Socioeconomic Gradient?” published in the International Journal of Endocrinology in September of 2014, the “prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise and currently affects over 25 million Americans and is estimated to reach 439 million adults worldwide by 2030.”  Not surprisingly, the occurrence of prediabetes is also increasing, “affecting approximately one in three U.S. adults” over 20 years old, that is an alarming 79 million individuals. One in three adults is reaching epidemic proportions and a canary in the mine because having prediabetes is a sign of developing type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes raises the risk of type 2 diabetes by 3 to 10 fold, and it’s estimated that up to 70% of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime. Given the high rates of prediabetes and the potential health risks, is disconcerting that only 7% are aware that they had prediabetes and that very few of the public-at-large know the risks and symptoms of prediabetes.

What is Prediabetes?
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. See the chart here for where blood glucose levels should be.  According to Joslin, someone has impaired fasting glucose when they have a fasting plasma blood glucose in the 100-125 mg/dl range. Alternatively someone has impaired glucose tolerance if they are given an oral glucose tolerance test and their blood glucose level is between  140 and 199 mg/dl. Both of these terms “impaired glucose tolerance” are “impaired fasting glucose” are medical terminology for prediabetes. Blood glucose levels rise when there is insulin resistance (IR). IR “is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes” (

Symptoms of Prediabetes
So few know they have prediabetes because the disease develops gradually, and there may be no disarming symptoms. Here are the signs to look out for according to

  • you’re hungrier than normal
  • you’re losing weight, despite eating more
  • you’re thirstier than normal
  • you have to go to the bathroom more frequently
  • you’re more tired than usual

These are all typical symptoms of diabetes. If you are in the early stages of diabetes, you may have these symptoms as well.

Preventing Prediabetes and Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic illness that causes serious consequences to one's health. If you have diabetes it “means you have too much glucose in your blood...Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems” (Mayo Clinic). Luckily, for someone with prediabetes or IR, there is growing evidence that prediabetes is preventable and treatable through habitual physical activity ( According to EndocrineWeb, there are three things you can do to bring your blood glucose level back to normal: “eating healthy food, losing weight and staying at a healthy weight, and being physically active.”

Kay’s Naturals is a health food company dedicated to providing healthy snacking alternatives for individuals with dietary restrictions. We provide low-glycemic foods that are Diabetic friendly and will not increase blood glucose levels. Shop online to see all of the low-sugar, gluten-free, and high-protein  snacks and cereals we have to offer. The road to health and wellness never tasted better!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The cognitive effects of gluten on the brain

Cognitive and emotional disruptions of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
It is common knowledge the celiac disease affects the gut. Though this is true, it is only a fraction of the picture. Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that causes diverse and far-ranging symptoms. CD Affects about 1% of the population is more common in women than men. It has been researched for the past 45 years and is fairly well known. By contrast, our understanding of gluten sensitivity as an illness separate from CD is recent and still emerging. Exact numbers are unknown, but is estimated that GS is six times more prevalent than CD. The culprit and cause of pain for individuals with CD or GS is gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

As awareness of gluten, GS, and CD continues to grow, more people are finding relief from painful digestive disorders by avoiding gluten. What many do not know are the negative cognitive and emotional disorders that can be caused  by gluten consumption if one has CD and GS. This article will briefly highlight the cognitive and emotional complications of CD and GS, as reported in Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity a study published in NCBI in 2012.

This is critical information for the public to understand. “Gluten sensitivity remains undertreated and under-recognized as a contributing factor to psychiatric and neurologic manifestations” and “it is notable, based on the lack of gut involvement, that neurologic and psychiatric complications seen in gluten sensitive patients may be the prime presentation in patients suffering from this disease,” according to the study. It is possible to be gluten sensitive, with gluten causing cognitive or psychiatric disruptions, but not causing any symptoms in the digestive tract. With digestive discomfort being the most known symptom or CD and GS, it is likely that some with CD or GS causing neurological and psychiatric complications are misdiagnosed. “Data suggests that up to 22% of patients with CD develop neurologic or psychiatric dysfunction, and as many as 57% of people with neurological dysfunction of unknown origin test positive for anti-gliadin antibodies,” according to the study.

Neurological Complications Caused by Gluten

Both CD and GS patients can have neurologic and psychiatric complications. The following is a list of known neurological complications:

Gluten Ataxia
Gluten can damage part of the cerebellum, the lowest part of the brain, for those with Gluten Ataxia. This damage can result in problems ones gross motor skills and gait, causing loss of coordination and physical disability.

According to the article, a study showed that, “one year on a gluten-free diet, the patients experienced significant relief of their ataxic symptoms on all tests. Several studies have shown that screening for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is beneficial in patients with ataxias and neuropathies of indefinite origin”

Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
Epilepsy is a “documented neurological manifestation of GS or CD.” The prevalence of celiac cases in people with epilepsy ranges from approximately 0.8–6%.. One study showed that for patients with CD and epilepsy, “seizure activity was better managed in the patients who received the earliest gluten-free diets.”.
Additional neurological conditions are: peripheral neuropathy, inflammatory Myopathies, myelopathies, headache, and gluten encephalopathy.

Psychiatric Complications
The most common psychiatric complications of gluten are “anxiety disorders, depressive and mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia.” While research is still required to understand the relationship between psychiatric disorders and gluten, “Accumulating evidence suggests a variety of connections.”

Recent research suggests that “gluten-mediated immune response is frequently associated with neurological and psychiatric manifestations.” If you have neurological disorders and have or suspect CD or GS, we highly suggest reading the complete article and speaking with your doctor about your concerns.

Kay’s believes that with knowledge comes the power to make choices that will improve your health and wellbeing. Kay’s Naturals was created to provide the public with low-sugar, high-protein snacks that were gluten free and convenient. For more about our products visit our website!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Is it CD or IBS?

Is it Celiac Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Understanding the difference when comparing similar symptoms.

Diagnosing celiac disease (CD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a confusing and lengthy process. The confusion is the natural result of having many of the same symptoms and testing results being inaccurate or non-existent. Much of the uncomfortable symptoms within the gastrointestinal tract is the same or similar for both conditions. It is important to know if it is one or the other because the consequences and treatment of either disease is markedly different.

IBS is a disorder that occurs in the large intestine and the result of unknown causes. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, up to one in five Americans have IBS. IBS is more common in younger individuals and females. It is a chronic condition, with symptoms flaring up and then remitting before reemerging again. The cause for the relapsing-remitting course cycle is unknown. Many with IBS, “report symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, diarrhea, and abdominal bloating or distention.” There is no testing for IBS. It is diagnosed when all other options have been ruled out. Diagnosis is a  “symptom-based approach” as there currently exists no unifying framework to understand the causes of IBS and is varying symptoms (A Framework for Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Given that the origin of IBS is unknown, there is no cure. Some studies have found, however, that a FODMAP diet can weaken IBS symptoms. According to an article published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information, “food intolerance in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is increasingly being recognized, with patients convinced that diet plays a role in symptom induction. Evidence is building to implicate fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs)” as the cause for IBS symptoms.

Celiac disease is a chronic  disease of the small intestine. CD is the result of gluten, a binding protein naturally found in wheat, barley, and rye. For individuals with CD,  gluten is not digestible, and it causes changes in the shape and considerable damage to the small intestine. This leads to villous atrophy and consequently malabsorption of many nutrients. It is believed that 1 in 100 individuals have CD in the United States. Symptoms include, “bloating, abdominal pain, and chronic diarrhea” (JAMA Network).

CD can be asymptomatic, and there are dozens of lesser known symptoms of CD as well. According to the Center for Digestive Diseases, “irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children. Many symptoms (eg. fatigue, anaemia, weight loss, bone pain, delayed growth and failure to thrive in infants) are secondary to malnutrition. Other possible symptoms include behavioural changes, muscle cramps, tingling numbness in the limbs, mouth ulcers, dermatitis, tooth discolouration and missed menstrual periods.”

CD is diagnosed through a series of tests, including gene tests, blood tests, and an endoscopy to determine if there has been damage to the villi of the small intestine.  Much of the symptoms are resolved when gluten is carefully and completely excluded from the diet.  

Given that the treatment is completely different, and CD causes long-term damage to the small intestine, knowing if it is one or the other is critical. Finding an informative gastroenterologist will start you on your path to wellness.

Kay’s Naturals is dedicated to helping the public become educated on matters relating to health and wellness, specifically when it comes to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals visit our website!