Posts Tagged ‘Medicine’

Food, Glorious Food!

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates

Unfortunately the typical American diet – factory farmed meats, saturated fats, too much sugar, processed foods, hidden GMOs, artificial preservatives and pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables – is hardly thy medicine.  An organic, whole foods diet however, can be.  Below are two common and often interrelated conditions, which with the right foods can be helped.

Insomnia:

“They” say that sleep is the new water; experts are talking about the negative effects on our bodies from lack of sleep and are recommending we get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health.  Many Americans are chronically sleep deprived however.  Consuming the right food is part of the answer. Eating a small snack – not a heavy meal – at least an hour before bedtime can help you fall asleep.  Tryptophan and carbohydrates, often found in comfort foods, maximize the release of serotonin, the feel good hormone, which helps you sleep.  Foods containing these two things are sleep inducing.  For example, bananas contain tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep and wake cycles; oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate; yogurt, warm milk, and other dairy products contain tryptophan; humus, turkey (You know how tired you feel after Thanksgiving dinner!) nuts and seeds, honey, and eggs also contain tryptophan. Try it and see if it works – don’t you like having permission for (a not too) late night snack?

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See Wikipedia:Sleep deprivation). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stress:

In today’s complex, fast-faced, high-tech, and often-uncertain world, we all fall prey to stress from time to time.  A certain amount of adrenalin and cortisol, the stress hormones, are motivating, but too much is a problem and actually can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer.  Avoiding or minimizing your intake of certain foods like caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which produce highs and lows, is key.  Incorporating foods high in folic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, anti-oxidants and omega 3 into your diet on regular basis will stabilize your mood and fight free radicals associated with stress.  Good examples are asparagus, blueberries, avocados, oranges, papayas, red peppers, cottage cheese, milk, almonds, salmon, spinach, whole grain cereals and breads, and black tea.  Crunching raw vegetables is not only nutritious, but helps release your clenched jaw and curb tension.  Of course alleviating stress also helps with sleep.

Another benefit of healthy eating?  The same foods prevent and treat a variety of ailments, as well as ward off premature aging.  It’s kind of like one stop shopping.  Now that’s a powerful medicine!

Information compiled from: http://www.webmd.com/, www.oprah.com/oprahradio, www.thedailymeal.com, http://www.sheknows.com/

 

BE HEALTHY!

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m a firm believer in learning from other people’s expertise, experiences, wisdom and even well founded opinions.  This weekend I attended Be Healthy Boston, a 2-day urban wellness retreat with keynote sessions and workshops.   It was fabulous! Renowned doctors, naturopaths, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, architects, designers, chefs, musicians, yoga instructors and green living experts, shared their knowledge with eager people who wanted a healthier lifestyle. I’d like to share some of this knowledge with you.

One main message was empowerment.  The resources to manage your own health and well-being are plentiful – we are lucky in the Boston area to have access to so many health care professionals of all levels – and there is no lack of information on the Internet.

One session that I especially enjoyed was “Food as Medicine” given by Dr. Mark Mincolla, a nutritional and natural health therapist who has transformed the lives of thousands of patients over the past 30 years.  He spoke extensively about inflammation, the root of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and others, and how we can control chronic inflammation through diet, exercise and stress reduction.   Dr. Mincolla suggests trying an anti-inflammatory diet for three weeks (give yourself a break on the weekends if it seems impossible) just to see if you feel any difference, which consists of:  fatty fish like salmon, vegetables, fruits, legumes, brown rice (whole grains), olive oil, soy, tofu, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and yeast-free bread.  Eliminate inflammatory foods such as dairy, wheat, egg yolks, fatty red meats, sugar and alcohol. The anti-inflammatory foods, high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, are an extremely important part of disease prevention and overall health. I urge you to read more about inflammation or visit his website maxhealing.com to better understand the inflammation/disease connection.  Check out his NECN program called “You Are What You Eat”.

I have long been an advocate of prevention and maintaining a healthy immune system through diet, especially in this time of virulent and unusual germs and viruses.  It’s exciting the medical community, the media and programs such as Be Healthy Boston focus on taking charge of your own life and embracing wellness.  As Dr. Mincolla says, “the best medicine is the medicine you will never need to take.”

An irony of all ironies – I picked up a flu bug from the Be Healthy Boston retreat!  Life is funny….

Some information compile from “Food is Medicine” by Dr. Mark Mincolla.