Foods to Boost Brain Health

 Boost your brain’s overall heath and enhance its day to day functioning by including these foods in a healthy well-balanced diet.

Blueberries – Well known for their role in improving motor skills and overall learning capacity, blueberries are rich in antioxidants that are great for boosting your brain and helping to reverse the effects of aging on the brain. Most berries contain fisetin and flavenoid, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you to easily recall past events.

Fish – Omega-3 rich wild salmon, tuna, and herring help brain function by providing more oxygen, allowing it to retain new information while remembering old information. It also coats neurons with good fat, allowing them to move easier through the brain. Eating one serving of fish a week can decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s.

Leafy Green Vegetables – Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens and others are rich in vitamins, folate, and iron, all of which are essential for memory recall and increasing cognitive activity.

Nuts/Seeds – Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and zinc all of which allow you to think more clearly. Choose seeds and nuts rich in thiamine and magnesium, which are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

Whole Grains – Rich in folate, thiamine, vitamin B6, and zinc, the nutrients found in whole grains increase blood flow to the brain, improving the quality and quantity of brain function and recall.

Foods, Vitamins, and Minerals to Support Your Endocrine System

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein are part of any healthy diet. To directly affect your endocrine system, make sure your diet includes these foods.

Fish – Fish provides your body with Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils. These oils are fats that directly affect cognitive function, cellular function and kidney function, all the things under the control of the endocrine system. Eating fish twice a week will aid in keeping a balanced endocrine system.

Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, increasing your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. One or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended. Include it in your cooking!

Calcium – Calcium keeps nerves healthy and ensures their ability to communicate effectively. Milk, cottage cheese, cheese, leafy greens, dried beans and yogurt are all rich in calcium.

Vitamin B Complex – Directly influences the nervous system’s proper functioning and health and one’s physical and mental performance concerning the nervous system. Found in chicken, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans and nuts.

Vitamin C – Adrenal glands have a very high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This vitamin helps stimulate adrenal glands into producing more of the disease fighting hormone cortin. A continued stressful environment depletes vitamin C reserves and increases the tendency for infection and disease. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, melons, apricots, strawberries, berries, green vegetables, sweet peppers, and particularly tomatoes

Nutrition and Oriental Medicine: A Total Health Program

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine address the issues of over-eating and low metabolism with effective tools to control appetite and increase energy. Energy imbalances are corrected and the digestive and elimination processes are improved so that there is a physical shift in the body to naturally have more energy and desire less food.

By addressing both the physiological and psychological aspects of weight management concerns, acupuncture and Oriental medicine provide a comprehensive therapy for weight issues that promote better digestion, balance emotions, reduce appetite, improve metabolism and eliminate food cravings.

Each treatment is customized to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body are chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (to stimulate the metabolism) and calming the nervous system. Treatments can include a combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, ear tacks or pellets to leave on between treatments, herbs and supplements, abdominal massage, breathing exercises, and food and lifestyle recommendations.

In addition to treating the root of the imbalance within the body, different acupuncture points may be used for each treatment as different symptoms arise. For instance, if you are experiencing a desire to overeat related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) one week, then that can be addressed at that week’s appointment.

The herbs and foods that are chosen during a weight management treatment are for promoting healthy digestion, energizing the body, augmenting Qi, and improving elimination of water, toxins and waste products. Acupuncture points on the abdomen can help improve digestion. They can also help with food absorption and the movement of food through the intestines.

Deep breathing with visualization can also strengthen will power and be used as a tool to curb hunger and cravings. Most patients report a marked decline in appetite and cravings with acupuncture treatment alone, but special herbs, healing foods and exercises can definitely enhance the efficacy of the treatments.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for achieving a healthy weight, by itself or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.

Fight Fibromyalgia with Nutrient Dense Foods

The National Fibromyalgia Association recommends a balanced diet containing nutrient dense foods free of artificial additives and sweeteners to help your body fight fibromyalgia syndrome. Some key nutrients to include are:

B-Complex
Found in whole grains, beans, nuts, chicken, fish and eggs; B complex vitamins directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and combat nerve problems such as tingling and tenderness.

Magnesium
Found in nuts, grains, beans, fish, meat and dark green vegetables magnesium is needed for muscle flexibility and bone, protein and fatty acid formation. Magnesium is also integral in making new cells, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, aiding in calcium absorption and activating B vitamins.

Omega 3
Directly affecting cellular function, this fatty acid found in fish minimizes nerve sensitivity and improves cognition.

Vitamin C
Helps combat stress, builds the immune system, and reduces swelling. Vitamin C is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes and berries.

Water
Increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps to eliminate waste.

Combat Cravings with Ear Massage

Ear Massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at decreasing cravings, reducing stress, promoting well being and addressing various health issues. Ear acupuncture is used throughout the world to reduce food cravings, assist in the detoxification of addictive substances, manage pain and calm anxiety.

Medical experts in ancient times regarded ear massage as a practice for health enhancement and disease prevention. Ancient Chinese medical literature states that the “ear is the meeting point of all the meridians” and “vital energy of human body converges on the ear”.

Ear massage triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Studies have demonstrated that ear stimulation increases levels of endorphins in both the blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Here is a great ear massage that you can do for yourself or your loved ones:

1. Rub in small circular motions with your thumbs inside the widest upper part inside the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers.

2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head.

3. Massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and making circles with your thumb and index finger.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture

A common disorder affecting 10 to 20 percent of adults at some point in their lives, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was once called “spastic colon” and has a combination of symptoms that may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue and headaches that can be worsened by certain foods, stress and other irritants. IBS results from nervous interference with the normal function of the lower digestive tract. The symptoms are variable and change over time.

While other patterns may be present, IBS is typically considered a disharmony between the liver and the spleen meridians in Oriental medicine. The liver meridian is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing stagnation of Qi or blood. Oriental medicine views the spleen meridian as being associated with the function of digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and blood). This can be weakened by a number of factors including overeating unhealthy foods, overwork, stress, fatigue, and lack of exercise. When the spleen meridian is weak and the liver meridian is not moving smoothly, the liver overacts on the spleen and can manifest as symptoms of IBS. Symptoms can be managed by avoiding overeating, exercise, identifying trigger foods and reducing stress.

Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Call today to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your quality of life!

Magnificent Mushrooms: How to Dehydrate Mushrooms in an Oven

We’re also including a special treat in honor of our last installment of the Magnificent Mushrooms series! While these directions are specifically for Shiitake mushrooms, this can also be done with ANY other kind of mushroom. Are you ready? Here it is!

Dehydrating mushrooms is ridiculously easy. If you have a dehydrator, it’s even easier—because you can plug it in outside and avoid the stench that will permeate your house. With dried shiitakes selling for more than $18/lb., though, the odor is worth it.

How to Dry Shiitakes

  1. If you have a dehydrating setting on your oven, use it. Otherwise, preheat oven to the lowest setting possible.
  2. Rinse mushrooms under cool water, making sure to clean between the gills where insects might lurk. Fortunately, our mushrooms were clean. However, if you find gnats or other insects, you can soak the mushrooms in a high saline solution to kill any critters, then rinse again. Pat dry.
  3. Remove stems from the shiitakes. The stems are fibrous and tough. You can reserve them to add flavor in soups, if you like—but you really don’t want to eat them.
  4. Slice mushrooms thinly to speed drying. You can also dry them whole, but expect the process to take much longer for complete drying.
  5. Spread sliced mushrooms into a single layer on a cookie sheet. If you are using whole mushrooms, place the mushroom gill-side up.
  6. Place mushrooms in oven. If you have a convection oven, you can leave the door closed. Otherwise, crack open the door a bit for air circulation.
  7. Using the dehydrating setting, it took approximately 12 hours for the mushrooms to dry completely. Check your mushrooms hourly to ensure that they are drying properly and not burning.
  8. When completely dry, the mushrooms will be tough and the gills hard, not spongy. Allow to cool completely before storing.

You can store the dried mushrooms for six months in a dark, cool place, or you can freeze the dried mushrooms for a year. Store them in a sealed plastic bag, tupperware, or mason (as shown).

Drying shiitakes adds convenience to recipes—you’ll always have mushrooms on hand when a risotto craving hits. To rehydrate the mushrooms, soak the dried shiitakes in boiling water for 20 minutes or warm water for 30 minutes. Many people use the resulting liquid as a healthy tea. Dehydrated shiitakes can also be added directly to the base when making soup.

Source: “Holy Shiitakes! How to Feast on Fungi for Months,” Growing Days. http://growingdays.blogspot.com/2012/11/holy-shiitakes-how-to-feast-on-fungi.html

7 Healthy Habits for Headache Sufferers

Headache sufferers can reduce the intensity and frequency of their headaches or migraine episodes by following a few simple steps:

Nutrition – Eat regular meals, avoid foods and drinks that are known to trigger headache attacks.

Sleep – Practice good sleep habits. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule, including weekends and vacations.

Stress – Implement stress reduction techniques into your daily life.

Education – Stay apprised of the latest treatment options and headache relief news.

Headache Diary – Keep a diary of when your headaches occur, along with any triggers, and share the information with your healthcare provider.

See Your Healthcare Provider –Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to specifically discuss your headaches.

Be a Partner in Your Headache Care – Stay informed, so you can be a participant in your treatment and an advocate for improving your own headache care.

Cancer Prevention in Every Aisle

Nearly everything in the produce aisle can help you prevent cancer, but there are items throughout the supermarket that can protect your health and the health of your family.

Produce Aisle Picks

Cantaloupe – A great source of carotenoids, plant chemicals that act as antioxidants shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Kale and Cabbage – Cruciferous vegetables are widely considered to be one of the healthiest food choices you can make. Included in this family of vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy. Cruciferous vegetables are high in vitamins, fiber, and potent anti-cancer phytochemicals.

According to the American Institute for Cancer, there is solid evidence that links cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer. Studies have shown that this vegetable group has the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining, lung, colon, liver and cervix. Studies that track the diets of people over time have found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of prostate cancer among men.

It is recommended that we eat 3-5 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week. It’s best to eat these veggies raw or only lightly steamed so they retain their cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Freezer Aisle Pick

Edamame (soybeans) – These cancer-fighting beans contain phytoestrogens, that may help prevent estrogen-driven cancers by binding to estrogen receptors. They are also good for the men of the household since evidence suggests the isoflavones found in soy products may help fight prostate cancer.

Cereal Aisle Pick

Whole Grains – Oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain. Fiber is rich in antioxidants, helps fight colon cancer, and the phenolic compounds in whole grains may help reduce the risk of certain gastrointestinal cancers. Pick cereals high in folate, fiber and/or flaxseed.

Beverage Aisle Picks

Orange Juice – This favorite breakfast beverage is a powerful source of folate which has been linked to lowered risk for gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers.

Green Tea – Lower in caffeine than coffee, it is rich in antioxidants that can help prevent prostate cancer and possibly bladder cancer.

Pomegranate Juice – Extremely antioxidant-rich, this juice helps prevent colon and prostate cancer.

Soy Milk – Made from soy beans, soy milk works the same way as edamame to fight cancer.

Household Aisle Picks

Sunscreen – Lather on the SPF each and every time you go out in the sun to block exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Challenge Your Brain

Keep your mind active and challenged. Brain function decreases with age. Studies show that cognitive exercise can improve blood flow to the brain. Spend at least 15 minutes each day on a mental exercise such as a crossword puzzle, journaling or learning a new language in order to slow memory loss.

However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.

One recently published study showed how acupuncture can be used to help patients with vascular dementia. Cerebral functional imaging before and after acupuncture treatments showed a significant increase in the cerebral glucose metabolism of the brain which is associated with improved cognitive function. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students taking an exam or those with Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. All results, thus far, have been positive.