There is a saying ‘that it is only skin deep’. But really the skin is very often a reflection of digestive health. In Chinese Medicine the skin is a reflection of the Lungs organ system and the Lungs are paired with the Large Intestine organ system. For example asthmatic reactions are often precipitated by ingestion of food allergens. When dealing with something like psoriasis it can often be helped by using nutraceuticals (i.e. adding fish oils to reduce inflammation or taking Vitamin D to support immune/inflammatory response) or changes in diet (such as a gluten free diet). The etiology of psoriasis is different for every body, however addressing nutritional imbalances thereby improving gut function, or changing diet and improving gut function can help reduce the itchy flaky skin. Read the rest of this entry
I know so many friends, especially ones with young kids, that have such a fear of sunlight. We need sun and it is my belief that children need to be in the sun, not coated with chemicals that are toxic and cause cancer! Yes sunscreen can cause cancer because we are lathering on chemicals that then cause oxidative damage to our DNA. The current medical thinking is that the most important reason we want to be in the sun is to increase our Vitamin D levels. Michael Holick MD a researcher at Boston University (an alma mata of mine) has a great presentation about Vitamin D and sunlight.Read the rest of this entry
A great website for determining the pesticide load on foods and what foods to by organic is called “What’s On My Food”.
From the website:
What’s On My Food? is designed to allow you a deep look into the USDA PDP results, linked up with all the information on pesticides that we have compiled over many years of studying them. The data and search functionality here allow you to see what levels of pesticide residues are on your food, in what combinations, and with what associated health risks.
We begin with the tests on tens of thousands of samples that USDA has performed as part of the Pesticide Data Program. Between 1992 and 2007, 89 different foods have been tested for pesticide residues. USDA often tests the same foods in different years. Since older tests aren’t as relevant for the food you eat today, this website contains data only for the test years 1999 to 2007.
The USDA test results in the database can be searched for three kinds of information:
How often is a pesticide residue found in a food?
On average, how much of a pesticide residue is found in a food?
What is the maximum amount of a pesticide residue in a food?
Ideally, there would be hundreds of tests for every combination of food and residue, but in practice there are not always that many. When there are very few measurements, the queries become unreliable. To only show reliable results, when there are fewer than five measurements, the What’s On My Food? website puts “N/A” instead of a number.
What’s On My Food? also allows you to compare organic, conventional, domestic and imported test results. USDA has some other categories in addition to organic and conventional, but there are so few tests in those categories that we have not included them.
An important movie is coming out this summer. Along the theme of Michael Pollan’s books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire this movie looks at what really happens to most conventionally packaged and grown food in this country. Watch the trailer here:
A study that used a private label supplements examined whether it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
“We examined the efficacy of a vitamin/nutriceutical formulation (folate, vitamin B6, alpha-tocopherol, S-adenosyl methionine, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl-L-carnitine) in a 12-month, open-label trial with 14 community-dwelling individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Participants improved in the Dementia Rating Scale and Clock-drawing tests (Clox 1 and 2). Read the rest of this entry
OK so it is the holidays and hard to avoid some of the delectable desserts made by friends and family. I’ve eaten way too many desserts – (luckily Valerie, my sister in-law, uses really good organic ingredients and not much sugar – and even without refined sugar everyone thinks her desserts are fabulous.) I also notice that the more I sit around on these cold and windy days the more dessert I want to eat! Read the rest of this entry
There is a plethora of research showing the benefits of blueberries and their super anti-oxidant capacity. No need to purchase expensive acai berry juice transported from another continent when we have an abundance of a super food all around Massachusetts, Maine and NH. However the antioxidant capacity of blueberries can be completely undone by a common practice – especially in the morning. The undoing is a four letter word. M-i-l-k. This is similar to how the antioxidant capacity of tea is undone.
In a just released Italian study looking at blood levels of 2 phenolic phytochemicals, i.e. antioxidants, they found that ingesting blueberries without milk increased antioxidant blood levels. However when milk was consumed with blueberries there was absolutely no change in blood antioxidant levels.
We must consider the possibility that the binding of milk to these acidic antioxidants reaches far beyond tea and blueberries. Any fruit or herb (i.e. tea, coffee, chocolate) that has acidic water soluble antioxidants (as opposed to something fat soluble like beta-carotene in say a mango or vitamin E in nuts) would probably be mitigated by adding milk.
The researchers of the above article suggest to gain maximum antioxidant potential from fruits that they’d be consumed away from other meals. (This does make sense for a digestive point of view as well as many people can have trouble with fruits after meals causing gas and bloating.)
So ditch the milk. Drink your tea black, your coffee black, your chocolate dark, and your berries on its own.
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Maynard, MA & Cambridge, MA
For many types of headaches acupuncture can provide relief of pain and reduce medications. In addition Chinese Medicine is effective at bringing the headache sufferer’s body back into balance by using acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle changes. The majority of the time headaches are a symptom of imbalance in the body. Read the rest of this entry