There are over 300,000 people in the US who suffer a stroke each year, especially those with a personal and/or family history of heart disease, diabetes and clotting disorders.
The aftermath is uncertain and often ranges from paralysis to difficulty speaking and other far-reaching effects. Since the damage is already done by the time someone knows they have a stroke, prevention is key for this potentially devastating disease.
Research published last week in the British Medical Journal
found that those who ate fish 2-4 times a week had a 6% less chance of a stroke, and those who ate fish 5 times a week had a 12% less chance of having a stroke.
Fish has been long recognized as an "anti-inflammatory" food, meaning that it reduces, rather than stimulates an aggravation of your immune system when you eat it. Just remember, that there is a wide diversity of fish out there, and be cautious in your choices.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, for example, has higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and bioflavonoids than farmed Atlantic salmon- which is "pinked up" by artificial dye to look as healthy and fresh as its wild counterpart.
And when considering species of fish and fishing practices, over fishing and other environmental concerns (not to mention heavy metal content such as Mercury), it can at first be difficult to find a healthy source of fish that you feel good purchasing. Take a look at Environmental Working Group's Safe Fish List
and this Sustainable Seafood Shopping Guide
for pointers, recommendations and further reading.
Here's to your good health.
So how nutritious is your food? How much calcium, vitamins and iron do you really get out of your food? And how's a person supposed to know?
Well, if you look to the CDC's recent release of their seven-year long project, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
, then there's not much to worry about. On average, only 1 to 10% of those tested were nutritionally deficient in any given vitamin or mineral.
But how can you know? How do you know if you get enough folate or omega-3 fatty acids? And how much does your food contain, anyways? Do we need vitamin and mineral supplements? To summarize my answer to these and many more questions, please take a few minutes and view this highly informative, engaging and inspirational video by Dr. Terry Walhs MD
Since whole organic fruits and vegetables
are where it's at, recently I was inspired to create a lunch that Dr. Walhs would approve of. Seen below, it's a garden salad and sauteed vegetables, complete with many colors and sulfur-containing foods.
So if you don't get enough nutrients from your food alone, how can you tell? In developing countries and areas where access to food is limited, the types of malnutrition seen there (e.g. poor development, brittle hair and teeth) is much more severe than the insidious type seen in America: overweight and overfed but nutritionally poor diet. I would call this nutritional insufficiency. What can that look like?
Some one lacking in one or more of our basic vitamins and minerals may experience headaches, poor concentration, low stamina, poor wound healing, many different skin complaints, tension, nervousness, depression and/or low energy. Might you know any one with one or more of these complaints?
Let me know any specifics I can answer on the above raised topics or feel free to write below any responses this topic raises. I am eager to answer readers' questions, but as always, the material here is no substitute for careful and conscientious medical advice.
Naturopathic physicians are experts at dietary analysis and can identify unique nutritional deficiencies or insufficiencies you may have. This is after taking into consideration any one of a number of common complaints which are seen as "normal" but may in fact be easily treated with a few simple dietary changes
. Please check in with your local ND for concerns specific to your situation.
Bringing acupuncture to hospitals benefits patients.
Hospitals are increasing their use of integrative medicine, which is no surprise since the majority of healthcare workers
use these therapies.
The results of a recent survey
of over 700 American hospitals were reported by the American Hospital Association by the non-profit Samueli Institute
. They asked hospitals about their Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) offerings; a few highlights are below. The results are heartening for those wanting customized, full-spectrum integrative health care when needing hospital care. The following are the top five most interesting findings
42% of the hospitals offer one or more CAM treatments. This is up 5% from the last survey in 2007.2.
CAM treatment types available at hospitals: massage, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, smoking cessation, fitness training and more.3. Top reasons hospitals offer CAM therapies: patient demand (#1) and
clinical effectiveness (#2).4.
Top reason hospitals don't have more more CAM therapies: budgetary constraints.5. And the number one most popular CAM therapy: massage therapy.
Private office or urban hospital?
Massage therapy, along with many of the above listed CAM therapies has been a long-standing treatment option available at private offices nationwide. The introduction of such CAM therapies to hospitals will benefit both the hospital and the patient.
Hospitals benefit by being able to better optimize patient healing, recovery and pain management to name a few (which may result in shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and less medical intervention).
According to Nancy Foster, AHA's VP of quality and patient safety, patients benefit by these hospitals' "desire to treat the whole person—body, mind and spirit...Hospitals have long known that what they do to treat and heal involves more than just medications and procedures. It is about using all of the art and science of medicine to restore the patient as fully as possible.” Sounds like a game plan we all can agree on!
Thank you for reading, please leave a comment below or email
Glucometer measuring a diabetic level of glucose in the blood.
The International Diabetes Federation met two weeks ago to document current cases of diabetes and what unified proposals they agreed upon to recommend to last week's UN meeting. This federation represents associations from 160 countries, all of whom are finding ever more increasing and concerning numbers of diabetics in their healthcare systems (information from their symposium may be found here
So what's the current picture? There are now an estimated 366 million people with diabetes (data combines types 1 and 2). Their total estimated yearly financial impact on healthcare systems is $465 billion. Annually. That's a huge number of people and a huge financial impact- both on larger systems and on a personal level.
To put this number into perspective, there are 54 million more diabetics in the world than the entire U.S. population combined. Although this is far from an American problem, many chronic non-communicable diseases rise in countries in proportion to their adoption of industrialized (American) culture and food (diabetes, heart disease and cancer are a few). Type 2 diabetes has been around for some time but has been rapidly growing from the 174 million diabetics estimated worldwide 30 years ago.
What was at one time termed "Adult Onset Diabetes" can now be found affecting grade-school children. Type 1 or "Juvenile Onset Diabetes" was a rare disease to my knowledge as a child, and I knew of no children with Type 2. I'm thinking that this is not the case with today's children.
How many Happy Meals does it take to develop diabetes? I'm not sure.
So where does this all end? Personal choices, government choices and companies' influence impacts all our lives. Whether it's diabetes, cancer, lung disease, an autoimmune disease or some other chronic non-communicable disease, it's a long and difficult path towards continual improvement of one's health. Our modern medical establishment it not set up to optimally serve people in a preventative and health-supporting manner, so check out what the Naturopathic profession can do for you if you have one of these or a similar concern.
So many choices, so many half-truth health claims.
Boosts your immunity. Good for digestion. Improves attention. These are some of the common claims made by major food companies to market their "functional food."
This phenomena has been explained by a recent NY Times article (5/14/11).
But how healthful are they? Is there actually science behind these claims?
Usually there is at least one scientific study which the companies use as a marketing springboard for their "functional food" product. But as far as how healthy the food item may be, the "for your health" advertising is often misleading and incomplete.
One such example is American Heart Association-approved Welches Grape Juice. It is approved because it is fat free (as opposed to those lard-laden juices?). Welches Grape Juice earns the AHA red "Healthy Heart" logo on the front of the juice containers, even though it contains 36 grams of sugar per serving (eight ounces). This amount of sugar falls somewhere between a Mountain Dew and a Pepsi- not what I'd call healthy, and probably not the best for your cardiovascular system.
In another particularly egregious use of research to promote "functional foods," Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats was marketing their cereal as improving children's attentiveness. These results were obtained by comparing children's attentiveness in the morning before their breakfast and after three hours. The control group got water for breakfast. Only half of the Mini Wheats kids showed better attentiveness than the water-fasted kids.
So it doesn't appear that concerned parents should be loading their kids up on those sugar bombs just quite yet. After whole wheat, the three remaining primary ingredients in Frosted Mini Wheats are sugar, high fructose corn syrup and gelatin. I can think of just a few better ideas for improving a child's attention than those food items.
So, how to tell what's what when grocery store items are being branded and sponsored by national disease associations faster than NASCAR drivers? First take a look at the ingredients, and turn a discerning eye to those which are "enriched" or include ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring (like red # 40). If the food has a longer ingredient list than you have an attention span for reading, the processed nature probably outweighs the health benefits.
Coke Plus: who needs a balanced diet when you have a balanced diet soda?
Lastly, if the brand is a billion-dollar international company, they're probably not too concerned for your digestive health. Just look to that food critic in you to sift the food that's actually good for you from the bright colors and cartoon figures promising health benefits.
Thanks for reading!
Paleolithic people ate ten times more fiber than we do now.
An anti-Paleolithic Diet article
in last week's Chicago Tribune is the latest to turn a skeptical eye to a diet shunning the great American food pillars: bread and dairy. The nutritionist they profiled, Dr. Keith Ayoob, has quite a few bones to pick with this diet, which focuses on produce, nuts, seeds and lean meats (the diet likely consumed by paleolithic people). His major contentions are that this diet must be deficient in vitamins and minerals because it does not include grains and dairy, and is (in his view) too expensive to feed a teenage boy.
That was actually a real argument on his part.Those nutrients which are found in fortified grains (bread, pasta, rice) and dairy are found in much lower levels compared to the wide spectrum of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds your typical "paleolithic dieter" consumes. Have questions as to whether you're getting the necessary amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from your diet? Consult a Naturopathic doctor- a doctor who's also an expert in nutrition!
You deserve the best information and guidance, it's your health we're talking about here!Thank you for reading, please contact me with questions, comments and feedback!-Angela
What was your favorite school lunch item?I'll admit mine was the chocolate milk; less than healthy choices such as mine may soon be a thing of the past.
School lunches are in the cross-hairs of the current legislative activity aimed at improving children's nutrition. Last year, Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act, showing how concerning our children's lunchtime food choices are (even the presidents getting involved here!). Today's Washington Post featured an article titled, "School lunch debates heat up," where author Jennifer LaRue Huget asks:"...
whose responsibility it is to decide what to feed America’s schoolchildren, who should determine what’s healthful and what’s not, and what role [do] parents play in that decision-making process. We also have to consider whether serving nutritionally sound meals at school is itself part of the curriculum; teaching kids what foods are best for their bodies by offering such foods at lunchtime."
Don't let me eat it if you're scared to look at the ingredients.
So whose responsibility is it that kids eat healthy lunches? Shouldn't it be everyone's?If healthy meal choices are made at home, then children will (by extension) bring healthy lunches to school. And for those who are provided meals at school (for parental convenience and/or reduced-price
), then shouldn't this be where the schools step in with healthy choices?
If childhood (and adult) epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes are to be reversed, we need to take what kids eat seriously. When nutrition becomes a value that we as a society act upon, only then will children benefit and chronic disease stats decline.
Until that time, Lunchables will continue to be the top lunchtime trading commodity, and our following generations will grow evermore unhealthy and overweight.I love to hear all of your comments, questions, and suggestions for upcoming articles. Feel free to contact me any time!Thanks for reading!-Angela