Individualized Nutrition, Pharmacy and Healthy Living

Diet

  • Foods That Fight Pain: A Dietary Approach to Conquering Migraines, Backaches, and Joint Pain

    by Neal Barnard, MD | July 6, 2015

    vegatable-marketIt’s normal to experience aches and pains every once in a while, but if the condition happens frequently, it can impair your quality of life. The good news is the root cause may live in your pantry, which means it is easy to fix: eliminate this trigger food from your diet, and stick with foods that fight pain.

    Certain foods act as triggers for arthritis and migraines. At the same time, high-fat foods can increase inflammation and alter estrogen levels, affecting menstrual cramps, migraines, and even increasing the risk of certain forms of cancer.

    High-fat foods also damage the arteries, creating blockages that reduce blood flow to the brain, heart, and spine. This explains why back pain is the most common form of pain and the leading cause of disability among American adults younger than age 45.

    To determine if you have a dietary trigger for chronic pain, or just need an arterial makeover, consider a three-step intervention. Chances are you’ll be pain-free within months, with a clean bill of health. Read more

  • Strawberry Season is Here!

    by Paula Gallagher | July 1, 2015

    strawberryI love strawberry season around here. My kids enjoy the whole process – the wagon ride, the picking, the eating, and then the countless things we make from the baskets and baskets we bring home. Strawberries are a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, a tasty after-dinner dessert, or an ideal way to add a slice of color to salads. As with most berries, picking or buying organic is best.

    One cup of sliced strawberries is less than 50 calories and contains almost 150% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

    High in folate, potassium and manganese, and stuffed with antioxidants such as flavonoids, strawberries are a superfood in their own right. As a matter of fact, strawberries – just like any antioxidant-rich food – are great at counteracting the cell damage that free radicals trigger in our bodies. Antioxidants protect these cells, and may reduce the risk of serious diseases, such as certain cancers and heart disease. Read more

  • The Gut-Mind Connection: Can Food Affect Mood?

    by Paula Gallagher | June 29, 2015

    yogurtCan food affect mood? In a recent study, published in Psychiatry Research, a group of psychologists asked 710 college students about what they normally ate, their personalities, their exercise habits, and any social anxiety symptoms they experienced. The results showed that people who ate more fermented foods (yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir) were less likely to experience social anxiety.

    This was an observational study, which means that it is unknown if it was the probiotics in the fermented foods that caused the reduction in anxiety symptoms – however, animal studies suggest that probiotics can help stimulate the release of important mood-related neurotransmitters. Probiotic supplements have also been shown to change how we respond to stress and sadness.

    This may be more proof that there is a gut-mind connection, that the health of your gut may be linked to your mental health. In 2011, a study out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario also found that the balance of bacteria in your gut may have more to do with your mood than any other contributing factors.

    Here are some common factors affecting the bacteria balance in our gut: Read more

  • 5 Tips for Sticking to Your Healthy Eating Plan While Eating Out

    by Margo Gladding | June 25, 2015

    restaurant-mealHaving just returned from traveling, I know that vacations can easily sabotage healthy eating habits. Restaurants work hard to entice you with over-the-top food and drink options. Complimentary bread baskets, rolls, and tortilla chips as well as large portion sizes are just some of the obstacles that can derail your diet plan. Here are some helpful tips and strategies to help you stay on track with your healthy eating plan while eating out.

    1. If you know you are going out for dinner, prepare! Eat carefully during the day. Have vegetable soup or a big salad for lunch. About an hour or two before you leave for dinner, have a protein shake, fruit and nuts, or yogurt so that you don’t arrive too hungry. It is important that you don’t starve yourself during the day or skip meals, as this can lead to overeating at dinner.

    2. Select restaurants that offer plenty of choices. Review their menu before you go and plan ahead what you will order. Make sure the restaurant offers fresh vegetables and salads, and is willing to make menu substitutions. Read more

  • Summer Staples to Stabilize Blood Sugar

    by Neal Barnard, MD | June 2, 2015

    vegetablesResearch has shown that plant-based diets are powerful in many ways, from trimming away excess pounds to reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. A new study shows that they also help with late-stage diabetes. Researchers tested a vegan diet for people with diabetic neuropathy, often experienced as numbness or as a stabbing, tingling, or burning sensation in the feet or hands. Participants in this 20-week study lost 14 pounds, improved diabetic neuropathy pain, and lowered LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. By improving blood sugar control, they also reduced the risk for other diabetes complications, including stroke and kidney failure.

    Perhaps surprisingly, the participants found the diet easy to follow. One of the keys to success is planning ahead, which often means stocking kitchen cupboards, desk drawers, automobiles, and travel bags with healthful options – a winning strategy for summer vacations, day-to-day travel, and unexpected delays.

    Here are five diabetes-friendly foods to help stabilize blood sugar that are easy to find, store, and assemble. Read more

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