I stumbled on a highly effective hunger-free weight loss program 15 years ago. It was 1998 and I was twenty-two years old when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). At the time I was diagnosed my neurologist at the University of Miami suggested a change in diet and lifestyle could make me feel better and help slow the progression of my disease. I quickly learned that MS was a disease made worse by inflammation and that I would need to do absolutely everything I could from a lifestyle standpoint to reduce inflammation, which primarily meant changing my diet. I was a fitness instructor at the time and I had always been slim, so the whole concept of “dieting” was foreign to me.
My husband, Andy Larson, M.D., is a surgeon now, but at the time I was diagnosed he was in medical school and I asked for his help in researching the best anti-inflammatory diet to follow. Even though Andy was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which is consistently ranked one of the best medical schools in the country, nutrition is not something that was emphasized in medical school, so he pretty much had as much learning to do as I did.
The more we learned together aboutanti-inflammatory nutrition and disease the more we realized that the common link between MS and many seemingly unrelated diseases (asthma, allergies, heart disease, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, arthritis, etc.) was inflammation. Andy decided to start the anti-inflammatory “MS diet” with me because he figured it was a healthy diet to follow even if you don’t have MS or any other inflammatory condition. Although he was not overweight when he started, Andy promptly lost 15 pounds without even trying (he was not restricting portion sizes or trying to count calories, etc.) and reduced his borderline high blood pressure down to a normal healthy level. That was sort of an “ah ha” moment for both of us. (more…)
Heart disease happens when a number of ‘risk factors’ add up. Some of the risks – gender, genetics and age – are uncontrollable; but others – smoking, inactivity, excess weight, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes – are within our control. The key to preventing heart disease is to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and take medications as prescribed. Use this Heart Attack Risk Assessment from the American Heart Association to find your risk for heart disease.
Men Need Help
Women take much better care of themselves. They might be programmed in to the system through OB-GYN care or maybe it’s taking care of the kids, but women visit their doctors for checkups, while men do not.
Over the past ten years, men have gotten fatter while women have stayed the same. In 2000, 27.5% of men were obese, but in 2010, it was 35%. In women, the obesity level remained stable at 33%. Along with obesity, men have more diabetes and high blood pressure, which places them at much greater risk. To their credit, men now smoke and binge drink less and they’re a bit more active. (1) (more…)
Have you ever wondered why people who are already obese continue to gain weight? Is it laziness, a lack of desire to lose weight, or something else? Two new studies that have been published by the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that it might be something else: their hypothalamus works differently.
The hypothalamus part of the brain controls how often we feel hungry or thirsty, in addition to controlling our need for sleep and our body temperatures. This means that when the hypothalamus is not working properly, someone might still feel hungry even if he or she has already eaten a lot of food.
In one of the studies, it was found that neurons that surround the hypothalamus of obese humans and obese rats are often damaged by inflammation. This inflammation could be caused by high-fat diets, which are notorious for causing inflammation throughout the body. Although it takes weeks or months for inflammation from high-fat diets to occur in other parts, it only takes a few hours for the same thing to happen in the brain.
The other study found that mice that ate a high-fat diet were slower to replace the old, non-functioning neurons. This could also hamper the hypothalamus’ ability to regulate hunger and other bodily functions.
“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates
In herbology they are called astringent meaning foods and herbs that are natural blood cleansers and antibiotic in nature. The word anti (against) – biotic (life), refers to a list of pharmaceutical antimicrobials designed to kill harmful bacteria in the host body. Problem is, these synthetic forms of antibiotics kill off both the good and bad bacteria leaving the body depleted of living microflora that support immune function.
Including foods and herbs that contain antibiotic properties in your diet can support your immune system and help to defend you from certain infectious bacteria. This can also be said for organisms such as the Lymes spirochete and Candida Albicans, an overgrowth of yeast. There are many foods and herbs known to have natural antibiotic qualities; and with an increased resistance to pharmaceutical antibiotics in people today, it is wise to eat foods that work in your defense on a daily basis.
This is not to imply that you should not take antibiotics when deemed necessary by your medical doctor. However, knowing how to use certain foods as medicine can help you to cut down on over using synthetic antibiotics for minor health conditions. Naturally, consult your physician before proceeding.
Arthritis is a condition defined by inflammation in one or more joints, coupled with stiffness, soreness and a limited range of motion. According to the Center for Disease Control, arthritis affects nearly 50 million Americans, and that amount is expected to rise. There are over 100 types of arthritis and the causes include but are not limited to obesity, lack of exercise, improper auto immune response, and the overuse of a misaligned joint.
However the painful condition has come about, the treatment and management of it is very important. Doctors recommend that arthritis sufferers get some moderate exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy weight.
Yoga, because it is a non-impact activity, is a very beneficial way to get some moderate exercise. Yoga poses strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints in a gentle way so the rate of progression of arthritis is slowed and moving becomes less painful. As a result, the symptoms of soreness and stiffness are more properly managed.
Read on to learn about a few basic guidelines to adhere to when practicing yoga with arthritis. Always remember to check with your doctor before embarking on a new type of exercise. In addition, speak with your instructor to learn about modifications you might find useful.
By Steven V. Joyal, MD, VP of Medical & Scientific Affairs at Life Extension.Life Extension has been a pioneer in funding and reporting the latest anti-aging research and integrative health therapies while offering superior-quality dietary supplements to consumers.
Feeling bloated? Gaining weight but don’t know why? Food sensitivity might be the cause. Chronic, low-level inflammation due to food sensitivity is a little-appreciated contributing factor for unwanted weight gain, along with other health conditions like fatigue, fluid retention, headache, and skin conditions.
Before we review how sensitivity to certain foods can make weight loss difficult, we need to understand the difference between food sensitivity and food allergy.
Classic food allergy occurs when certain foods trigger the immune system to release large amounts of the chemical histamine. When large amounts of histamine flood the body, a potentially life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis can occur. This potentially fatal condition causes the throat to swell, potentially cutting off the air supply to the lungs.
One year it’s this diet trend, the next year it’s that diet trend. The funny thing is that, aside from the all-celery and 8-grapefruits family of diets, all the smart diets end up saying pretty much the same thing: Eat bushels of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, less animal fat, and cut out refined foods. Genius!
Lately there’s been a flood of diet books based on the anti-inflammatory concept. The gist is that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to illness, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation inspires better health and can fend off disease. We generally think of inflammation as the painful part of arthritis, but inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes. Which is why proponents of the diet say it can reduce heart disease risk, keep existing cardiac problems in check, reduce blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and soothe sore and stiff arthritic joints.
Eat plenty and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Eat little saturated and trans fats.
Eat omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice.
Increase your consumption of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.
Limit (or quit) your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy foods, increase lean protein and plant-protein source.
Avoid refined foods and processed foods.
Generously use anti-inflammatory spices.
By incorporating these herbs and spices into your diet, you get great flavors with healing properties. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found, for example, that basil has anti-inflammatory activity compared to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin! (more…)
We know that a healthy diet can help prevent a number of diseases and conditions, including Type II diabetesand some heart diseases. While we might discuss our diet and lifestyle choices with our general physicians, we sometimes forget to ask our dermatologist how what we eat is affecting our skin.
Approximately 14 million people in the United States have rosacea, a skin disorder that causes inflammation of the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids. For some people, it may appear as redness – think severe blushing – or swelling, sometimes accompanied by acne flare-ups.
While you can’t necessarily prevent or control the symptoms of rosacea with diet alone, there are certain foods that may be associated with rosacea flare-ups. According to Chicago Dermatologist and Skin Care Authority, Amy Forman Taub, MD, the Medical Director of Advanced Dermatology and Assistant Clinical Professor, Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Dermatology, some foods and beverages may cause dilatation of the blood vessels in the face, or may be associated with inflammation.
Ginger is a calming spice that has long been touted not only for its ability to add a powerful punch of flavor to both sweet and savory recipes, but for its nutritional and anti-nausea properties. Now, doctors and experts are saying that it may be a powerful weapon to help combat certain types of inflammation that cause pain.
Because ginger contains dozens of phytonutrients called gingerols, it is a powerful agent to help fight inflammation, including the kind that causes arthritis pain. According to the Huffington Post, Japanese researchers recently reported in the Journal of Medicinal Food that red ginger is used in Indonesian traditional medicine as a painkiller for arthritis.
No matter which health goal you have, odds are it ties back to your heart. As we explained in a recent post aboutheart health statistics and facts, brushing your teeth, stressing less, exercising, losing weight all have a direct, and positive, impact on your heart. One of the ideas we discussed was reducing inflammation, so we followed-up with one of the foremost experts on inflammation and its relationship to heart health, Dr. Barry Sears.
In the household name sense, Dr. Sears is the creator of the Zone Diet, a clinically proven lifestyle program designed for losing weight, fighting the effects of aging, reducing the risk of chronic disorders and improving mental and physical performance. Not to mention, the Zone Diet has a tremendous affect on reducing inflammation.
Watch our interview with Dr. Sears as we discuss the current status of heart health in the U.S., which he calls “under flux.” Dr. Sears also explains what inflammation is, how it affects our hearts, and what we can do to treat or prevent it. Finally, you’ll hear the single most important thing you can do for heart health.
Inflammation is a major health problem, particularly as we get older. The term “inflammation” refers to a pretty broad spectrum of health issues, including symptoms such as pain, swelling, and redness of an affected organ or tissue.
So, where does diet come into play? Well, a poor diet can cause chronic inflammation, which could lead to arthritis and various auto-immune diseases. Proponents also point to the growing evidence that long-term inflammation can lead to some cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure and even Alzheimer’s disease.
The key may be in a hormone called prostaglandins. These hormones are produced to regulate our body’s inflammatory response and come from the fats we eat. There is evidence that shows that the types of prostaglandins produced in our body can depend on the types of fat eat. So, in order to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet, you need to stick with eating “good” fats and avoid “bad” ones. (more…)
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