Monday, July 12, 2010

Food as Medicine - July 11, 2010

Let's start this edition of food as medicine with an article from Reality Sandwich named, interestingly enough, Food as Medicine. The "eat and greet" they were promoting in the article has come and gone, but the basic idea is sound.

Food as Medicine

Om for reality sandwich.jpg

Over a year ago my partner, Tatiana Forero, created OmWellness during a time of economic uncertainty and disillusionment with the healthcare reform efforts. She wasn't sure what she was going to do next. She was doing freelance nutrition counseling and private yoga instruction, and her job at the college was done for the summer. One night she looked at me and said, "I can create a really good nutrition counselor training program. I don't know of any out there that are overtly spiritual. Something that's focused on group processing and individual transformation as the basis of counseling others. If it doesnt' exist yet, or if I haven't heard of it, then it's up to me to create one"

At the time I thought she was inspired, thinking outloud, daydreaming. A year later, and countless hours of work and heart poured into the creation of OmWellness, and we have graduated 25 holistic health counselors.

We've seen women resume their menstrual cycles for the first time in years, diabetic symptoms greatly reduced, weight loss, cures to emotional eating problems, and many more wonderful healings. And now we're seeing our students go out into the world and change their communities. A salon in Queens adding a holistic health center, corporate execs from places like JP Morgan hiring us to destress and teach them about Meditation, Yoga, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Macrobiotics, Veganism, organic farming, food politics, and much more. Little by little we are feeling the real possibility of a preventative, green, holistic health-care model emerging into the mainstream.

That said, here are a few recent articles that give more evidence that foods can have drug-like effects on the body and increase our health.

Spicy peppers may cause your body to burn more calories
Losing weight is just a few spicy peppers away, according to a recent report out of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Researchers there say that the capsaicin compounds found in peppers that give them their spicy taste, actually help to burn calories as well.

Scientists believe that the reason why capsaicin burns calories is because the compound uses energy to raise a person's body temperature, which provides a similar effect as the one obtained by engaging in traditional exercise routines.

Because capsaicin is usually pretty spicy, it might be a turn-off to many people who simply would not be able to tolerate the sensation. Fortunately, some chili peppers produce a form of capsaicin called dihydrocapsiate, or DCT, that is milder and more palatable.

9 condiments that are good for you
Turns out your diet may be healthier than you think. Those little extras you love like ketchup on burgers or hot sauce in tacos have hidden health benefits. New research shows that certain spices, herbs, and spreads not only boost flavor but can also help curb appetite, ease digestion, and even promote better memory. Here are nine to have on hand.

— Amanda Pressner, Prevention

Snacking on nuts and seeds 'could keep Alzheimer's at bay'
The finding suggests that nuts and oils could provide a cheap and tasty way of keeping the mind healthy as the years advance.

Alzheimer's affects some 400,000 Britons and around 500 new cases are diagnosed every day.

The Swedish researchers measured vitamin E in samples of blood taken from 232 men and women. All were aged 80 or older at the start of the study and free of dementia.

After six years, 57 had developed Alzheimer's, the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease reports.

However, the disease was around half as common in those boasting the most vitamin E at the start of the study.

Breast Cancer Risk Lowered by Fish Oil, Study Says
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle followed 35,016 post-menopausal women who had no history of breast cancer.

They asked the women to fill out a questionnaire about their use of non-vitamin, non-mineral specialty supplements, and then followed their progress for an average of six years.

They found that women who regularly used fish oil supplements had a 32 percent reduced risk of developing the most common form of breast cancer. Of the total number of women in the study, 880 developed the disease.

Garlic and onion may boost mineral absorption
Consuming garlic or onion with cereals increased the uptake of iron by about 70 percent, and zinc by to 160 percent, according to new results published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that could offer opportunities to tackle two of the globe’s major deficiency concerns.

“Both garlic and onion were evidenced here to have a promoting influence on the bio-accessibility of iron and zinc from food grains,” state the researchers, led by Krishnapura Srinivasan from the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India.

“This novel information has the potential application in evolving a food-based strategy to improve the bioavailability of trace minerals and hence contributes to the human health benefit,” they added.

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