Site Search

advertisement

Links We Like

advertisement


advertisement

Archive
Wednesday
Mar022016

5 Reasons to Consider Fasting

 

Intermittent fasting (IF) has its pros and cons, and is not right for everyone. But for some, it can help lower the risk of heart concerns, cancer risk and more. Learn about intermittent fasting, how to do it, and who should avoid it.

Intermittent fasting, or IF, refers to repeatedly going without solid food for longer periods than is typical on a daily breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule. Variations are endless. Some proponents skip breakfast; others dinner. Others fast all day every other day, every third day, once per week, or once per month. Fasting periods accelerate the clearing out of waste left by dead and damaged cells, a process known as autophagy. A failure of autophagy to keep up with accumulated cellular debris is believed by many scientists to be one of the major causes of the chronic diseases associated with aging.

Positive effects of IF suggested by animal and human studies include:

  1. Decreased cardiovascular disease risk.
  2. Decreased cancer risk.
  3. Lower diabetes risk (at least in animals, data on humans were less clear).
  4. Improved cognitive function.
  5. Protection against some effects of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Dr. Weil does not recommend IF for teens, nor pregnant or lactating women. Some health conditions - such as severe gastrointestinal reflux disease, or GERD - are easier to manage when food intake is more regular. But getting hungry now and then is clearly a healthy thing to do as long as overall caloric intake stays high enough to maintain a healthy weight. If you do fast, be sure to drink water or other fluids to stay hydrated.

Monday
Feb292016

3 Ways to Prevent Blindness

Keeping your vision as clear as possible is vital – but an unhealthy lifestyle and diet can be detrimental to your eyesight. Try adding these three simple suggestions to your daily routine to help prevent macular degeneration and other vision concerns. 

The leading cause of blindness in those over the age of 60 - affecting more than 13 million Americans - is macular degeneration. The health of the macula (an oval spot in the center of the retina that's essential for central vision) depends on a very rich blood supply, and anything that interferes with circulation can cause damage to the macula and decrease its ability to function.

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices can reduce the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients to the eye, eventually leading to the death of cells in the retina and macula. To help prevent macular degeneration and other vision problems, consider the following: 

1. Stop smoking. The nicotine in tobacco smoke can decrease blood supply by causing a narrowing of the blood vessels and a thickening of the blood. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.

2.  Eat a diet low in sugar, flour and oxidized oils (such as soybean oils used in processed foods and deep-fat frying). These can contribute to plaque build-up along blood vessel walls, including those supplying the macula, which impedes blood flow.

3. Get enough antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein. These antioxidant compounds may help prevent plaque from sticking to the blood vessel walls, lessening the risk of damage to the tissue.

Friday
Feb262016

Help Moderate Inflammation with Ginger

Chronic inflammation can take its toll on the body – but taking ginger may help counteract the risks and symptoms. Find out what makes ginger a good choice, and how much to take.

Chronic low-grade inflammation has been linked to the development of many age-related health conditions. Although this process may not be noticed physically, there are things you can do to prevent or delay health issues related to inappropriate inflammation. Consider following an anti-inflammatory diet and taking ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory herb that may help to lessen the risks and/or symptoms of many inflammation-related disorders. Dried ginger preparations are actually more powerful than fresh because of a chemical conversion of its constituents on drying. Capsules of dried, powdered ginger are now commonly sold in health food stores; use only those that are standardized for their content of active components. The recommended starting dose is one gram per day (usually two capsules), taken after a meal to avoid stomach irritation. There is no toxicity and you can stay on it indefinitely.

Wednesday
Feb242016

Plastic in the Microwave: How Harmful is it?

Is using plastic wrap when reheating or cooking foods in the microwave harmful to your health? 

It's not uncommon to see people microwaving leftovers in plastic dishes, heating up meals in the plastic containers they come in, or placing plastic wrap over foods to protect the inside of a microwave from splatters. Is all this as innocent as it seems?

I don't think so. While plastic has many terrific uses, when it comes to cooking it should be avoided. DEHA [di-(2-ethylhexyl)adipate], sometimes found in cling wrap, and other chemicals commonly found in plastic are potential endocrine disruptors, and can negatively influence hormonal activity. While studies are underway to better define the health risks associated with plastics, it is best to steer clear of using plastic and plastic wrap in the microwave, as the heat can drive plastic molecules into your food. Instead, use glass or ceramic containers and cover foods with waxed paper or a paper towel. I also suggest avoiding pre-packaged foods that come in cling wrap (if you purchase such products, transfer these items to a different storage container once you get home).

Monday
Feb222016

Want to Drop the Pounds? Try these Snacks!

If you like to snack but want to manage your weight, consider these suggestions. Each is a healthy option that will tide you over until your next meal!

Eating small, healthful meals throughout the day not only helps keep blood sugar levels stable and energy levels high, but can also help prevent overeating and promote a healthy weight. Start by making your main meals smaller in size and stocking up on healthy, satisfying snack items to round out your day. Good choices include:

1. Fresh or lightly steamed veggies
2. Hummus with crudites
3. Seasonal fruit with a little organic, whole-fat plain yogurt and freshly ground flaxseed
4. A small piece of cheese or smoked salmon

These healthy snacks also have the added benefit of being part of the anti-inflammatory diet that I recommend, and may help reduce the incidence of inflammation-related diseases.

Friday
Feb192016

Yoga: The Cobra Pose

Yoga can invigorate your immune system, release stress and enrich your life overall. The Cobra Pose is especially powerful: It is said to promote flexibility in the spine and encourage the chest to open. It can also:

 

  • Strengthen the spine
  • Stretch chest and lungs, shoulders and abdomen
  • Firm the buttocks
  • Stimulate abdominal organs
  • Relieve stress and fatigue

 

Plus, it soothes sciatica and may even help to relieve asthma. See how to do the Cobra Pose!

Monday
Feb082016

10 Vegetables You Should Have in Your Kitchen, Part 2

From onions to sweet potatoes, last week's blog post covered five veggies you should always have in your kitchen. Today I present five more to add to your grocery list!

I recommend keeping your kitchen stocked with each of these as it comes into season:

  1. Beets. The deep red color of these root vegetables comes from anthocyanins, phytonutrients that protect against damage from carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease. Beets are versatile, inexpensive, and delicious hot or cold. 
  2. Squash. With a wide variety of types, flavors, shapes, and sizes, squash is readily adaptable to any occasion - it can even be used in pie! It provides beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber, nutrients that are necessary for good overall health.
  3. Tomatoes. This red fruit (often considered a vegetable) contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and possibly some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Use tomatoes in everything from salads to sauces, but know that lycopene is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and eaten with a little fat, such as extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Broccoli. This vegetable-platter classic and other cruciferous vegetables offer cancer-protective benefits. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium - both of which help keep bones strong. It is tasty both raw and cooked, and can be a stand out in soups, casseroles, and salads.
  5. Mushrooms. Prized for their tonic effects, mushrooms can help address a host of illnesses. Maitake mushrooms (known as "hen of the woods" for their resemblance to the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen) are particularly valued in Asian cooking, as they have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-boosting qualities, and are easily included in many main courses.
Friday
Feb052016

10 Vegetables You Should Have in Your Kitchen, Part 1

Vegetables are a natural source of healthful nutrients that can help keep your body running optimally. In this two-part series, find out what vegetables I suggests you have in your kitchen.

Vegetables (and fruits) are the foundation of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, and for good reason - fresh produce is the best source of natural nutrients that can help keep your entire body running smoothly. I recommend every healthy kitchen have the following versatile and flavorful favorites on hand:

 

  1. Onions: This classic, pungent vegetable adds depth and richness to any meal. Sulfur compounds found in most varieties of onions may be responsible for its health benefits, including the possible lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
  2. Garlic: This fragrant bulb contains many of the same phytonutrients as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral compounds. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal infections.
  3. Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.
  4. Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
  5. Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts.

 

Don't miss my nex blog post for the other five of the 10 Veggies You Should Be Eating.