The Importance of Fiber in a Healthy Diet

Fiber is one of our favorite friends with many nutritional benefits! We love that fiber helps with:

  • Regulating how our body uses sugars
  • Keeping us regular
  • Cleaning up our digestive tract
  • Keeping us feeling full when we eat

There are two types of fiber- insoluble and soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber helps to move waste products through our digestive tract, and is a great helper in preventing constipation. You can find insoluble fiber in different food sources like kidney beans, lentils, black beans, okra, turnip, carrots, peas, cucumber, and tomatoes.

Soluble fiber is the other form of fiber that helps us feel full, helps to lower glucose levels, and can even help with weight management. Soluble fiber can also be metabolized by the good bacteria in our gut! Some sources of soluble fiber are lima beans, oatmeal, avocado, brussel sprouts, asparagus, sweet potato, and nuts.

Did you know we have nutritional consultants at both of our locations who love guiding patients in the right direction to achieving their health and wellness goals. Give us a call or send us a DM to schedule an appointment!

Calgary : (403) 263-0661
Okotoks : (403) 982-7771

The Importance of Progesterone: All About Balance

Progesterone is well-known for its role in regular menstrual periods and healthy pregnancies.

Progesterone itself is a remarkable hormone which acts on your brain, breast, bone, ovaries, and uterine tissue. It’s not a coincidence that estrogen acts on these same tissues. Progesterone is the brake to estrogen’s gas pedal, and the balance of these hormones is critical for optimum function and wellness.

But did you know that progesterone helps with sleep, mood, irregular or heavy periods, and can help prevent endometrial cancer? In addition, it helps to build bone and has positive cardiovascular effects. Here are a few ways studies have shown that progesterone can promote health and wellness:

  • Prevents Endometrial Cancer and Lightens Menstrual Flow: Progesterone has been key in opposing estrogen to prevent endometrial hyperplasia (overgrowth) and prevent endometrial cancer. Progesterone can lighten menstrual periods by balancing estrogen’s stimulating actions on the uterine lining. It is given to women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) who have irregular and skipped periods to shed the thickened lining of the uterus. Progesterone-containing IUDs have become a popular solution to managing heavy periods in perimenopausal women along with cyclical or continuous oral progesterone supplementation.


  • Promotes Restful Sleep: Progesterone has a calming effect on our brain. Progesterone is rapidly converted in the brain into allopregnanolone which acts through the GABAA receptors to calm anxiety and promote sleep (Friess et al., 1997). A good example of this is progesterone’s overall mellowing of mood as we see in the third trimester of pregnancy. Sleep disruption is found in 31% of early perimenopausal women and increases to 38% by late perimenopause (Dennerstein et al., 2000). Randomized double blind crossover trials in men (Friess et al., 1997) and menopausal women (Schussler et al., 2008) clearly document significant increases in early rapid eye movement sleep, decreased sleep interruption, and no changes in morning neurocognitive function (Schussler et al., 2008).


  • Has Protective Effects on Bone: Progesterone promotes bone forming activity by binding to osteoblasts (cells that secrete the matrix for bone formation). Estrogen and progesterone balance bone remodeling so that estrogen reduces bone resorption while progesterone stimulates bone formation (Prior, 1990; Seifert-Klauss and Prior, 2010).


  • Reduces Breast Tenderness: Breast tenderness (or mastalgia) is a concern for 33% of early perimenopausal women (Dennerstein et al., 2000). Clinical evidence shows breast tenderness occurs when estrogen (E2) levels exceed the normal midcycle peak. Progesterone is a well-known and effective therapy for breast tenderness occurring, as it commonly does, premenstrually (Hale et al., 2003). Progesterone can also help significant symptomatic improvement of breast tenderness in perimenopausal women (Dennerstein et al., 1985).


  • Can Treat Hot Flushes and Night Sweats: In those women who cannot take estrogen, oral micronized progesterone has recently been shown to be an effective therapy for postmenopausal hot flushes and night sweats (Hitchcock, 2012).


  • Energy Booster: Progesterone is known to increase the thyroid hormone, T4, which increases your body temperature at a calorie requirement of 300 kcal/d (Barr et al., 1995). This is why your temperature increases after ovulation, from increased production of progesterone. Rationale follows that progesterone supplementation may help with weight stabilization in the perimenopausal period along with a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous activity and a proper nutritious diet (which is always recommended).


  • Has Anti-Androgen Effects: Progesterone is a natural blocker of 5 alpha reductase and reduces androgens (male hormones). It protects the hair follicle from the effects of testosterone. It is the reason for more hair growth in women during pregnancy. In addition to hair benefits, it can also combat acne. We see this when certain progesterone/progestin-containing birth control pills are recommended for acne patients.


  • Has a Positive Effect on the Cardiovascular System: Estrogen is known for stimulating the production of HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol in our body. Natural progesterone, not progestins, have been found to support and not negate the positive effects of estrogen on HDL.


Studies have shown progesterone has cardiovascular safety in terms of endothelial function, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference, inflammation, coagulation, and cholesterol or lipid profile (Prior, 2014).

In conclusion, I hope you will agree that progesterone itself is a remarkable hormone. It is important to remember that a healthy balance of all hormones and nutrients, as well as a healthy lifestyle, contribute to achieving the best outcome.


Julie Thomson, MD, MSc, CCFP

Papillon Medical Dermatology Laser Centre




Hitchcock CL, Prior JC (2012) Oral Micronized Progesterone for Vasomotor Symptoms in Healthy Postmenopausal Women – a placebo-controlled randomized trial. Menopause 19: 886-893.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Aug;79(2):282-7. doi: 10.1111/cen.12128. Epub 2013 May 6. Progesterone therapy increases free thyroxine levels–data from a randomized placebo-controlled 12-week hot flush trial.

Prog Neurobiol. 2014 Feb;113:6-39. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2013.09.004. Epub 2013 Oct 27.Revisiting the roles of progesterone and allopregnanolone in the nervous system: resurgence of the progesterone receptors.

Jerilynn C. Prior​, 1 , 2 , 3 , * ​Thomas G. Elliott​, 1 , 2 ​Eric Norman​, 1 ​Vesna Stajic​, 1 and ​Christine L. Hitchcock​ Progesterone Therapy, Endothelial Function and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A 3-Month Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial in Healthy Early Postmenopausal Women 1​PLoS One​. 2014; 9(1): e84698.

J.C. Prior​, Progesterone for Symptomatic Perimenopause Treatment – Progesterone politics, physiology, and potential for perimenopause​Facts Views Vis Obgyn​. 2011; 3(2): 109–120.

Glowing Skin from Within

How do I achieve glowing skin? Do I need to eat differently to achieve my skin health goals? What can I add into my routine to help my skin from feeling so ‘blah’? These are just a few of the skin related questions we’re often asked, so I thought today I would address them!

Right now, the world is in a much different state than we’re used to, and if your skin is going through some changes – just  know that you are not alone!  Many of us are dealing with stress and changes to our norm; even I’ve noticed more breakouts and dullness in my skin.  Everyone’s skin journey is different and influenced by many factors like genetics, nutrition, skincare products, and stress.  Some of these things we are unable to control, but some of these things we can!  What you put into your body is a big one, so I want to share with you some nutrients you can include in your diet for glowing, youthful skin.  Let’s jump right in!

Antioxidants & Greens 
Antioxidants and greens are the first two nutrients I want to chat about, as they play a crucial role in our skin health.  Our skin is a large and important organ; it’s our job to protect it from free radicals, pollution, and chemicals, and provide it with nutrients that help it thrive.  Antioxidants help us maintain immunity, improve barrier function, and soothe inflammation while fighting off these free radicals.

The most common antioxidants are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, lutein, manganese, zinc, and zeaxanthin.  All of these contribute to our skin’s overall health (which is where that glow comes from), so it’s important to include them in your diet. 

Greens are one of the best sources of antioxidants.  The more pigmented (darker) the greens, the better, because they contain the most chlorophyll and antioxidants.  Greens are some of nature’s superfoods and benefit the body as a whole when eaten regularly, so don’t skip out on them!  Some examples of greens to include in your diet are kale, spinach, parsley, broccoli, dandelion greens, avocado, and arugula

You can incorporate greens into any meal, and one of my favorite ways to sneak an extra helping of veggies into my day is a smoothie!  I have shared one of my favorite green smoothie recipes for you at the end of this blog, so be sure to check it out.

In addition to greens, I’ve included other great sources of antioxidants:

  • Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries
  • Richly pigmented fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, tomatoes, mangos, kiwi, watermelon, and grapes
  • Sulfurous vegetables like onion, garlic, and leeks

Drinking more water on a daily basis is the best place to start when trying to improve your skin’s appearance.  Water helps our skin stay plump and hydrated, so when we’re dehydrated our skin can feel congested, dry, and flakey.  Our body needs sufficient water to digest, absorb, and excrete toxins/waste properly, meaning that adequate hydration addresses dullness by preventing the build-up of dead skin cells.  If you have trouble remembering to drink enough water, set alarms for yourself throughout the day and make sure to keep a water bottle nearby. 

If you want your skin to glow and feel healthy, pay attention to your omega-3 intake!  Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation in our skin and nourish our membranes.  When our skin is chronically inflamed, it is more susceptible to damage at a cellular level; this is when we really start to see dryness, dullness, pigmentation issues, and textural concerns.  Omega-3s are especially important if you struggle with acne or rosacea, but they can be helpful for anyone looking to keep inflammation at bay.

Some great sources of omega-3s are:

  • Fish, including cod, salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, and halibut
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds, including walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and flaxseed

Food for Thought
Lastly, I want to touch on a few things to avoid on the journey to improving your overall skin health.

As tasty as they can be, eating lots of processed foods, refined sugars, and highly inflammatory foods won’t help you.  Balance is key, so it’s okay here and there, but when you’re trying to achieve radiant, glowing skin, nixing inflammatory foods is the best plan.  Be consistent with your intake of skin-nourishing foods and nutrients.  Sooner or later our cells turn over and our tissues repair themselves – so the more goodness you put in, the more goodness you’ll get out!

I hope you are all staying safe and taking care of yourselves. I know things are tough right now but remember that we are all in this together!  I hope to see you all very soon! 

Glowing Green Smoothie 

This green smoothie is a great way to get in your daily skin-supporting nutrients. And it’s tasty to boot!  Enjoy!  🙂

– ½ banana 
– ¼ cup or big handful of spinach
– ½ avocado
– ½ cup mango 
– ¼ cup pineapple 
– small handful of blueberries
– 1 tsp or small slice of ginger
– ½ tbsp of chia seeds 
– ½ cup coconut water
– ½ cup cashew milk (may need more depending on desired consistency)

Tips and Options: You can use frozen or fresh fruit.  I personally prefer the fruit to be frozen for better texture and a nice cool temperature.  I like to peel the banana and keep it in the fridge or freeze it as well.  Avocado can be fresh, or you can purchase them in frozen chunks in the frozen fruit section, but I used a fresh avocado for this recipe.  You can also freeze any fresh fruit you have if desired!

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

The Importance of Estrogen

Today I would like to highlight some of the health benefits of estrogen – a key hormone for vitality and longevity in both men and women!  The majority of studies focus on estradiol (E2), though we know that estrogen exists in many different forms.  For that reason, we want to make sure that estrogen metabolism is healthy and that our metabolites promote wellness, not disease.  It is important to remember that a healthy balance of all hormones and nutrients, as well as a healthy lifestyle, contribute to achieving the best outcome with any treatment.

Here are a few ways studies have shown that estrogen can promote health and wellness:

  1. Cardiovascular Protection

Estrogen has been shown to promote the growth of new blood vessels and support the natural dilation of existing vessels.  It encourages energy production by supporting mitochondrial function (the small energy producers – or “powerhouses” – that are present inside each cell) and, in doing so, contributes to the health and survival of each individual cell!  Estrogen also limits cell damage by inhibiting fibrosis following cell injury.  If that weren’t amazing enough, it has significant antioxidant properties and contributes to healthier cholesterol levels.

  1. Cognitive Function

Estrogen has neuro-protective properties, which means that it helps to protect your brain cells.  This promotes better memory, cognition, and learning as we age!  It also plays an important role in energy regulation on a cellular level, which helps keep our brain cells – among others – in healthy working order.  Evidence suggests that it may also contribute to cellular repair.

  1. Feminine Health

Estrogen keeps the female intimate tissues healthy. When Estrogen levels are optimal, women are less likely to develop bleeding or pain with intercourse – a common issue in aging women, resulting from estrogen deficiency and thinning tissue.  It also promotes the natural lubrication of vaginal tissue and contributes to a healthy libido at any age!

  1. Bone Health

Estrogen is a key regulator of bone metabolism in both men and women.  It supports the activity of our osteoblasts – cells responsible for producing and maintaining strong and healthy bones.  When estrogen levels drop during menopause, our osteoblasts lose their bone-producing efficacy, which may contribute to the development of osteopenia or osteoporosis (bone loss/weakening).

  1. Gastrointestinal Health

Hormone therapy (specifically estrogen) has been associated with a reduced risk for developing colon cancer. Additionally, estrogen interacts with the microbiome (the living organisms in your gut) which plays a major role in an individual’s overall health and well-being.

By Stella Jansen van Rensburg, MD, MBChB, ABAARM, PgDPD

Papillon Medical Dermatology and Laser Centre


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Zárate, S., Stevnsner, T., & Gredilla, R. (2017). Role of Estrogen and Other Sex Hormones in Brain Aging. Neuroprotection and DNA Repair. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 9, 430.

Krause, M., Wheeler, T. L., 2nd, Snyder, T. E., & Richter, H. E. (2009). Local Effects of Vaginally Administered Estrogen Therapy: A Review. Journal of pelvic medicine & surgery, 15(3), 105–114.

Cauley, J. (2015). Estrogen and bone health in men and women. Steroids, 99, 11-15. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2014.12.010

Barzi, A., Lenz, A. M., Labonte, M. J., & Lenz, H. J. (2013). Molecular pathways: Estrogen pathway in colorectal cancer. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 19(21), 5842–5848.