Posts tagged ‘healthy eating’

January 19, 2012

WSJ article on Brain-Gut connection

Here is a great article a friend shared with me from the Wall Street Journal: A Gut Check for Many Ailments… I hope you read it!

This article is a succinct and well-written summary of a branch of scientific research some call “psychoneuroimmunology.”  A study of the connection between the brain, the mind and the immune system.  In this article, the author presents a few important research studies that have helped us understand the role of another key palyer: our gut!  When addressing any disease, one system your naturopath may always ask about is the gastro-intestinal system.  Why? Because, often the GI ‘runs the show’ in the body more than any other system — some scientists even refer to gut as having its own ‘brain.’

The author discusses research revealing the importance of maintaining healthy gut flora in order to maintain proper neurotransmitter balance – which affects things like anxiety and depression; and, in this study, autism.  Just another good reason to eat lacto-fermented foods on a regular basis or include a high-quality probiotic in your diet.

The author also mentions research showing that stimulation of the vagus nerve – the largest nerve connecting the brain and the GI system – could significantly alter someone’s experiences of depression.  We often talk about food as medicine, but I love this article because it brings together a nice sampling of mainstream research to illuminate how we can see gut health as playing a central role in achieving balanced health in the mind and body.

January 23, 2011

what does your doctor know about nutrition?

An article published in the New York Times, by Dr. Pauline Chen, asks this very critical question, and the answer may or may not surprise you.  In the 1980’s the National Academy of Sciences published a report exploring the didactic hours of nutritional education provided in U.S. medical schools and determined it was remarkably insufficient.  They also determined that the minimum requirement for study dedicated to clinical nutrition for America’s upcoming doctors should be 25 hours.  Today. thirty years later, only 25% of our nation’s medical schools meet this minimum requirement.

In her article, Dr. Chen recalls her early years as a resident:

“Years later, as a newly minted doctor on the wards seeing real patients, I found myself in the same position. I was still getting a lot of questions about food and diet. And I was still hesitating when answering. I wasn’t sure I knew that much more after medical school than I did before.

One day I mentioned this uncomfortable situation to another young doctor. “Just consult the dietitians if you have a problem,” she said after listening to my confession. “They’ll take care of it.” She paused for a moment, looked suspiciously around the nursing station, then leaned over and whispered, “I know we’re supposed to know about nutrition and diet, but none of us really does.”

She was right. And nearly 20 years later, she may still be.”

Is nutritional education so important for today’s doctors?  The National Cancer Institute has this to say about the link between diet and chronic disease:

Serious diseases that are linked to what we eat kill an estimated three out of four Americans each year. These diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and diabetes. Eating a diet that contains 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy, active lifestyle lowers the risk for all of these diseases.

Most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy. Despite the fact that they are important for maintaining overall good health and preventing diseases, eating fruits and vegetables is not even on many people’s radar screens.”

The old adage “an apple a day” is more than folk-wisdom, we now have current research supporting the critical importance of dietary education for patients facing risk factors for disease.  Proper nutritional status is not about just “feeling good,” it is about preventing serious, life-threatening, diseases – cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer.  What you eat today can be a game-changer for your health in the future.  So what is your doctor telling you — and how much does your doctor know?

Perhaps it is time to seek out a primary care physician who has been thoroughly immersed in clinical nutritional training.  Consider this evaluation of conventional medical schools and naturopathic medical schools in the U.S.: comparative curricula.

Naturopathic doctors who have graduated from an accredited medical school have received a minimum of 132 hours of nutritional education compared with traditional medical doctors who have received 25 hours or less.  Not only can your naturopathic physician provide you with detailed guidelines for healthy eating that leads to a longer and more vital life, she can also assess your individual nutritional needs that are unique to you – your genes, your lifestyle and physical status.  In the end, we now know that early prevention through adherence to proper dietary guidelines will lead to less hospital visits, less prescribed medicines and significantly less risk for serious chronic health conditions in your future.

Your health can be significantly altered simply by the foods you choose.  Talk to your naturopathic physician about your health goals and how they can be achieved through dietary changes, this is a simple undertaking that can profoundly alter your future health!

be well,
Dr. Rachelle

December 28, 2010

high fructose corn syrup – friend or foe?

think twice before grabbing your sweets! image from yahoo.com

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you know where that sweetness in your treats originates?  High fructose corn syrup is one ingredient worth scrounging your cupboards for – (and changing up your snacking habits if you find it residing there) because of its numerous deleterious effects on your health.

Not only is this highly refined sweetener a threat to good blood glucose management (this is extremely important if you have ever been told you are hypo- or hyper-glycemic), it is far from its original state by the time it makes it into your food and may be one of the top ten contributors to obesity in the US.

Read more here for a useful breakdown on HFCS!