Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Walnuts Help Us

As a nut they are high in protein.  These nuts are high in Omega 3s, Vitamin E, some B vitamins, magnesium and fiber.

Walnuts are very good for our heart and blood system health.  They help lower our bad cholesterol and improve the elasticity of our blood vessels which means better blood pressure.  And the vitamin E in walnuts is an unusual version that has shown significant benefit preventing heart problems.  Plus the skin in the shell is high in phenolic acid which also helps heart health. 

Walnuts have shown to help prevent Metabolic Syndrome ( and type 2 diabetes due to the high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Some of these phytonutrients are a great anti-inflammatory that reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer. 

Recipes with walnuts to help impotence, back pain, arthritis, constipation, kidney stones and some coughs are all available.  If you can't find what you need let me know & I can help. 

But this is a nut I highly recommend you put in you diet.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Pecans are good for you

Many of us forget to keep nuts in our diet.  Besides being a great snack, they are a wonderful source of proteins and other nutrients.  Each has it's own specific ingredients and benefits.  I am going to write about some here starting today with Pecans.

Pecans are good for:
Fatigue     Chronic cough     Low back pain     Low libido     Constipation

Do NOT eat when there is diarrhea or very loose stools.

To improve their effect against chronic cough grind fresh pecans into a powder and mix that with ground apricot seeds and honey.  1 tbsp. of each.  Stir this into hot water and drink 2-3 times per day.

For low back pain soak in port wine for 1-2 weeks and eat a palm size quantity each day.

These 2 recipes came from The Tao of Nutrition, by Maoshing Ni & Cathy Mc Nease.  A fantastic book to have in the house. 

Next time Walnuts!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Acupuncture changes brain's perception and processing of pain

CHICAGO – Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have captured pictures of the brain while patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture to determine acupuncture's effect on how the brain processes pain. Results of the study, which the researchers say suggest the effectiveness of acupuncture, were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"Until now, the role of acupuncture in the perception and processing of pain has been controversial," said lead researcher Nina Theysohn, M.D., from the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at University Hospital in Essen, Germany. "Functional MRI gives us the opportunity to directly observe areas of the brain that are activated during pain perception and see the variances that occur with acupuncture."
fMRI measures the tiny metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain, while a patient performs a task or is exposed to a specific external stimulus.
In the study, conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at University of Duisburg-Essen, 18 healthy volunteers underwent fMRI while an electrical pain stimulus was attached to the left ankle. Acupuncture needles were then placed at three places on the right side, including between the toes, below the knee, and near the thumb. With the needles in place, fMRI was repeated while electrical currents were again directed at the left ankle. The researchers then compared the images and data obtained from the fMRI sessions with no acupuncture to those of the fMRI sessions with acupuncture.
"Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture," Dr. Theysohn said.
Specifically, fMRI revealed significant activation in the contralateral supplementary motor area, somatosensory cortex, precuneus bilateral insula and ipsilateral somatomotor cortex during electrical pain stimulation without acupuncture. During acupuncture, activation in most of these pain-processing areas of the brain was significantly reduced.
According to Dr. Theysohn, in addition to the assumed specific effects on the pain signal, acupuncture also affected brain activation in areas governing the patients' expectations of pain, similar to a placebo analgesic response.
The anterior insula, for example, plays a role in transforming pain sensation to cognition and represents a subjective component of pain sensation. The reduction in activation of the primary somatosensory cortex and the insula during acupuncture indicates an acupuncture-induced modulation of the sensory encoding of the painful stimulus.
"Acupuncture is supposed to act through at least two mechanisms—nonspecific expectancy-based effects and specific modulation of the incoming pain signal," Dr. Theysohn said. "Our findings support that both these nonspecific and specific mechanisms exist, suggesting that acupuncture can help relieve pain."
Coauthors are Kyung-Eun Choi, M.Sc., Elke Gizewski, M.D., Ph.D., Thomas Rampp, M.D., Gustav Dobos, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Forsting, M.D., Ph.D., and Frauke Musial, Ph.D

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful Day

I just returned from our Tai Chi class.  It was a good way to start the day and the weekend.  We all felt better after the exercises. Each of us decided to change our plans to enjoy the outdoors in some way this weekend.  

The weather today in Camarillo is fantastic.  Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.  It is healthier for your body, calming for the mind and enriching for the spirit.  You can't ask for a better medicine.

We may copy a friend and go to the tide pools.  Or take a hike up in the Santa Monica Mountains.  Whichever we do it will be great to get out and enjoy this spring-like day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meditation or Prozac?

Boston University's psychology professor Stefan Hofmann reviewed 39 studies on mindfulness meditation.  The studies showed that using this as therapy can relieve anxiety and improve moods.  While not for all of the 1,140 people the technique did work. 

Another study last month found that the treatment is as effective as drugs in preventing relapses of depression.  MRI scans actually validated the study showing different brain activity before and after the meditation training. 

Many people have side effects from their prescriptions but deal with them since the depression or anxiety is worse than the side effects.  Simple meditation found in yoga or tai chi can have the same benefits without the side effects of the drugs. 

It makes me appreciate my Tai Chi even more. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Myth of Sports Drinks

Sport Drinks are not of any benefit for the average athlete. They mildly help professional athletes but if you are not exercising at that level daily then they are just as bad for us as soda.  Due to successful marketing people are convinced that they are good for anyone that does any level of activity.  But all the sugar they contain may be part of the obesity problem the USA faces.
This study was authored by Nalini Ranjit and posted at  15,000 middle and high school students found that the people purchasing these drinks also were eating a better than average diet.  These students have been convinced that the drinks are part of a healthy lifestyle.  Yet the sugar content is almost as high as soda. 
To help prevent obesity, diabetes and other sugar related health problems stay away from Soda and Sports Drinks.  Your body will thank you for this. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brown Rice, White Rice and Diabetes

We always hear, "eat whole grains." Yet many of us forget to apply that to rice. 

We remove the bran from brown rice and that is white rice.  Along with the bran go a lot of nutrients; various antioxidants, a form of vitamin E, gamma-oryzanol, beta-sitosterol, 2 fibers and ferulic acid.  Many studies have shown all of these may contribute to either lowering fats, lowering cholesterol and balancing blood sugar.

In 2010 a Harvard study of 200,000 people showed that those eating 5 or more servings of white rice per week increased the chance of diabetes by 17%.  Yet shows people eating 2 or more servings per week of brown rice lowered their chances of diabetes by 11%.  That is a 28% difference between white and brown rice!

Without the bran the white rice is converted into blood sugar much quicker than the brown rice which increases our demand for insulin.  Higher insulin demand without the nutrients we need to deal with it make it harder & harder for our bodies to handle spikes in blood sugar.  This leads to diabetes. 

Combine these studies with other research and we see that removing white rice and substituting whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, spelt, Irish oats) instead can decrease the incidence of diabetes by over 30%. 

So next time you order Chinese food ask for brown rice.  If they can't do it, call someone who can.  Your health depends on it.