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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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