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Cholesterol & Aggression

More evidence constantly emerges suggesting that the half-century old “war on cholesterol” has had unintended consequences for health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Considering the crucial role this molecule plays as the raw material for pregnenolone and the multitude of hormones that come from it, plus the structural role of cholesterol in building healthy cell membranes and neuronal myelin, the effects of serum cholesterol that is too low should not come as any surprise. Lower...Read more

Iodine and Childhood Cognitive Development: Omega-3 Fats Aren’t the Only “Brain Food” From the Ocean

Scientific research long ago uncovered the links between poor diets and the classic “deficiency diseases” common in the 18th and 19th Centuries—things like scurvy, beri-beri, and pellagra. We know that long-term depletion of certain nutrients can result in specific conditions with undeniable signs and symptoms. But in the developed world in the 21st Century, rarely do patients and clients present with full-blown deficiency diseases. When was the last time someone walked into your office with...Read more

Beware of “Health Halos”

“Shop along the perimeter of the supermarket and avoid the middle aisles.” This is the advice medical and nutrition professionals frequently give people who are looking to lose weight or simply improve their overall health and wellbeing. On balance, it’s pretty good advice. After all, the perimeter is where the fresh and unprocessed foods are found: vegetables and fruit; meat, poultry and seafood; and dairy products. Of course, that’s also where the bakery is, but presumably, it goes without...Read more

Digging a Little Deeper into Depression

Depression is notoriously difficult to treat. The underlying causes are often multifactorial and elusive to identify. Pharmaceutical drugs leave a lot to be desired. Not only are they often ineffectual, but many of them come with undesirable side-effects, which can be unpleasant for anyone to deal with, but may be even worse for someone already contending with depression. Moreover, many healthcare practitioners are quick to reach for the prescription pad without digging a little deeper to try...Read more

Onions – from old wives’ tales to rock star status

It’s difficult to imagine good cuisine without onions. There’s French onion soup, onions grilled with meat on skewers for shish-ke-babs, the classic mirepoix as the aromatic base for hundreds of dishes, and an endless array of other applications for the myriad varieties of onions that are cultivated or grow in the wild. Owing to the worldwide popularity of onions, annual cultivation exceeds 44 million tons, and onions are the second most important horticultural crop, after tomatoes.  While...Read more

Quality and Duration of Sleep Affects Risk for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease

If you are not getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, you may be at an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis, according to a recent (2014) study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the large intestine in which the gastrointestinal lining becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. This is caused by an abnormal response by the body's immune system. In patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, the...Read more

Refreshing, Revitalizing Raspberries

Owing to the increasing popularity of low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss, management of metabolic syndrome, and other health goals, fruit is starting to get a bad reputation. And while there’s certainly merit to limiting large intakes of juice and dried fruit—particularly among those who are insulin resistant, sedentary, and have other factors that can wreak havoc with glycemic control—some fruits in their whole form can absolutely be part of a healthful diet. Fear-mongering about excess...Read more

The Ups and Downs of Traveling

Vacations are a kind of medicine. They can be therapeutic for body, mind and spirit. Less stress, new cuisine, a break from work deadlines—sometimes, getting away from everyday life at home is just what the doctor ordered. Whether it’s lounging on the beach, or walking through an exotic spice market on the other side of the world, we often think only of the positive aspects of traveling. And while we all deserve to decompress, it’s important to keep in mind that along with the pleasant parts of...Read more

Rhodiola Rosea – A Star Adaptogen

Posted on Mar 10, 2016 11:21:10 AM

Recent trends in herbal therapies have demonstrated an escalation in the interest, research and use of adaptogenic bontanicals that increase resilience and stamina to chronic stress. This should not come as a surprise since modern lifestyles often operate on time constraints that leave individuals feeling short on sleep, healthy meals, time alone, time with family, and of course … energy. Success is often measured by productivity, and productivity is matched with speed. As society continues to move toward a George Jetson prototype rather than aspiring to move back to the ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ it will increasingly rely on tools that will provide support for the demands and stresses of a fast-paced life. 

Rhodiola rosea is becoming one of the most popular adaptogenic botanicals in North America. It has long been recognized and revered in Russia, Europe and Asia as an herb that increased mental, physical and emotional resiliency. Originally founded by a Greek physician and duly named because of its fragrant rose-scented roots, rhodiola’s adaptogenic qualities were noted as early as 1755, in the Swedish pharmacopoeia. Rhodiola contains numerous antioxidants and flavonoids, but its prized constituents include rosavins and salidrosides, which are now used as the mark of standardization.

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Tags: stress, mental health, adaptogens

Dealing with Eczema at the Source: Autoimmunity

Posted on Mar 8, 2016 10:56:21 AM

Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, is a chronic condition characterized by red, swollen, itchy skin. It is most common in babies and children, but it is estimated that between 9 and 30 percent of the American population is affected by one of the many forms of eczema. While eczema is neither life-threatening nor contagious, the unsightly visible evidence on the skin–particularly on the face and other regularly exposed areas—can have debilitating effects on quality of life, as sufferers may feel compelled to avoid social engagements during particularly severe flare-ups.

There is debate regarding the exact causes and triggers of eczema. There may be a genetic component, and flare-ups may result after use of products that are irritating to the skin, such as certain soaps, shampoos, lotions, and other cosmetics. It is generally accepted that there is some degree of allergy underlying eczema, and up to 80% of children with eczema will also develop hay fever and/or asthma. Moreover, a significant body of research indicates that eczema may be an autoimmune condition. If so, this would explain why many of the common treatments—such as creams to control itching and fight infection, and oral or injected anti-inflammatories—are often ineffective, or are effective only for a short time. Moreover, many of the common treatments have unpleasant and harmful side-effects

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Tags: Autoimmunity, eczema

Spinach – the Versatile Superfood

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 10:58:46 AM

It isn’t often that cartoon characters dispense accurate nutritional advice. But there’s something to be said for Popeye singing the praises of spinach. Spinach is available year-round, fresh or frozen, and is quite versatile; it fits nicely into several disparate dietary approaches: vegan, vegetarian, omnivorous, low-carb, and ketogenic. It’s great in omelets, can be used raw in salads, baked into lasagna, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, or made into creamed spinach with generous helpings of cheese and cream, for a low-carb, high-fat dish. It may be slightly bitter, but overall, its flavor is milder than that of hardier greens, such as kale, mustard, and collards.

Like other leafy greens, spinach is loaded with nutrients. Per 100-gram serving, its vitamin K content is off the charts at over 600% of the daily value (DV). It provides nearly 50% of the DV for folate, 47% of the DV for vitamin C, and close to 200% of the DV for vitamin A (as carotenoid precursors). It’s no slouch in minerals, either. 100 grams of spinach provides 20% of the DV for magnesium, 45% for manganese, 16% for potassium, and 15% for iron. With 10% of the DV for calcium, a generous serving of spinach shows why dark leafy greens are an important source of calcium for those with intolerance to dairy. With just 4g of carbohydrate—2g of which are fiber—spinach is about as low-carb as it gets. Its glycemic load is practically negligible, making spinach a good food to fill up on without affecting blood sugar or racking up calories. Providing just 3 grams of protein, though, we can assume that Popeye didn’t rely on spinach to build and maintain his muscles! 

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Tags: Vitamin C, Antioxidant, healthy eating

Cholesterol & Aggression

Posted on Mar 1, 2016 9:24:26 AM

cholest.jpgMore evidence constantly emerges suggesting that the half-century old “war on cholesterol” has had unintended consequences for health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Considering the crucial role this molecule plays as the raw material for pregnenolone and the multitude of hormones that come from it, plus the structural role of cholesterol in building healthy cell membranes and neuronal myelin, the effects of serum cholesterol that is too low should not come as any surprise. Lower cholesterol levels in aged populations have been linked to increased all-cause mortality, and new research is adding to the body of evidence indicating the cholesterol-lowering effects of statin drugs have effects on the mind as well as the body.

It has been recognized for several years that there may be an association between low cholesterol and violent behavior. In one study, cholesterol levels below the median were strongly associated with criminal violence among individuals of the same gender, age, alcohol intake and level of education. Among individuals who have attempted suicide, those who chose violent means had serum cholesterol concentrations 30% lower than those who chose non-violent methods.

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Tags: statins, cholesterol

Iodine and Childhood Cognitive Development: Omega-3 Fats Aren’t the Only “Brain Food” From the Ocean

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 9:57:42 AM

iodine_and_children.jpgScientific research long ago uncovered the links between poor diets and the classic “deficiency diseases” common in the 18th and 19th Centuries—things like scurvy, beri-beri, and pellagra. We know that long-term depletion of certain nutrients can result in specific conditions with undeniable signs and symptoms. But in the developed world in the 21st Century, rarely do patients and clients present with full-blown deficiency diseases. When was the last time someone walked into your office with gums bleeding so badly and skin so easily bruised that you had to dust off your history book and diagnose a case of scurvy?

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Tags: brain health, iodine, omega 3

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