Individualized Nutrition, Pharmacy and Healthy Living

Health Concerns

  • 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

  • 4 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Health

    by Paula Gallagher | June 16, 2015

    bicycle-familySome of the top causes of death amongst Americans are related to lifestyle. The good news is that the risk of heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness and stroke can all be reduced with lifestyle changes.

    Research suggests that the United States spends well over $7,000 per person per year on healthcare, more than twice the average of many other countries. Yet, the average life expectancy in the United States is far below many other nations that spend less on healthcare each year.

    Here are four lifestyle changes to improve your health and help prevent disease.

    1. Stop smoking. Tobacco use is the single most avoidable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Although we all know the detrimental effects that smoking has on our bodies, one in five Americans still smokes. The health benefits of quitting smoking are numerous, and many are experienced rapidly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, within 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, heart attack risk begins to drop and lung function begins to improve. Read more

  • Natural Treatment for Gout

    by Paula Gallagher | June 10, 2015

    goutKnown as the King's Disease or rich man's disease, gout used to be associated with red wine and eating rich food, like red meat and chocolate. Actually, gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that mostly targets men, and it has been on on the rise. The prevalence of gout has doubled in the U.S. in the last 20 years, with almost 9 million Americans affected. Natural treatment for gout can help.

    According to a study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, the rise of obesity and hypertension are likely contributors. Gout is triggered by crystallization of uric acid within the joints, it causes severe pain and swelling. Medical evidence suggests that gout is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome – a group of health conditions characterized by central obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and blood lipid issues – and may lead to heart attack, diabetes and premature death. Read more

  • Link Between Lack of Sleep and Alzheimer's

    by Paula Gallagher | June 8, 2015

    sleepResearchers at UC Berkley have found a possible link between sleep deprivation and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

    Scientists found that poor sleep allows a memory robbing protein, beta-amyloid protein, to build up in the brain and that protein then disrupts sleep further, creating a vicious non-sleep cycle. The study, published in Nature Neoscience, looked at 26 older adults between the ages of 65 and 81 who showed no existing evidence of dementia or other neurodegenerative, sleep or psychiatric disorders.

    To study the link between sleep and Alzheimer's, each participant received PET scans to measure levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. Then they were asked to memorize 120 word pairs and tested on how well they remembered a portion of them.

    The study participants then slept for 8 hours, during which an EEG measured their brain waves. The following morning, their brains were scanned using fMRI as they recalled the remaining word pairs. Overall, the results showed that the study participants with the highest levels of beta-amyloid in the medial frontal cortex had the poorest quality of sleep. 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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