|Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health
Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) “GOLDEN MILK” FOR COLD, FLU, DEPRESSION AND MORE
2) HOW TO MANAGE 3 HORMONES THAT CAN INFLUENCE WEIGH LOSS
3) 5 SURPRISING
FOODS FOR BETTER SLEEP (AND 4 TO AVOID)
1) “GOLDEN MILK” FOR COLD, FLU, DEPRESSION AND MORE
by Amanda Rose, Ph.D.
Turmeric is fast becoming a popular remedy for just about everything that ails you. I became an avid enthusiast on a trip to Kauai when I actually had access to the fresh root for the first time.
I was recovering from a drastic dermatological procedure and it was not the optional sort — I had cheek skin grafted to my nose in the doctor’s effort to find a piece of my skin not invaded by basal cell skin cancer. (As an aside, if you drink this turmeric milk in the sun, be sure to wear a giant hat….) In any case, on that Kauai trip, I needed extra care and nourishment and this is one of the ways I took care of myself — experimenting with all things turmeric. When I returned home, I found that the drink is
particularly powerful as a wintertime cold and flu remedy. I have added some to just about every tea I have put together this past season. Turmeric in milk is a great option as well. The flavor is pleasant and offers a change from the tea.
Why Turmeric Milk?
Traditionally, turmeric milk has been used for colds, congestion, headache, and sore throats. Turmeric is a depression-fighter as well. Adding more to our diets is one great brain build strategy.
Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, making it a promising complementary therapy for cancer-prevention.
Just as examples, promising studies suggest that it fights cancer of the skin (Jee et al., 1998; Bush et al., 2001), breast (Mehta et al., 1997; Ramachandran and You, 1999; Simon et al., 1998; Verma et al., 1997; Choudhuri et al., 2001),
colon (Hanif et al., 1997), and liver (Park et al., 2005), and prostate (Mukhopadhyay et
al., 2001). It was the skin research that had my attention before that trip to Kauai and even had me running around here with an bright orange facial mask.
Beyond the western research, there are centuries of tradition using turmeric to cure all that ails you. As you explore the topic yourself, Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicines in India have used turmeric in health and wellness since for as long as records even exist.
This milk is extremely simple. I use the ginger for flavor but it fights the same sorts of ailments. It’s critical in this mix to mask the bitterness of the turmeric and it brings health benefits to boot.
If you have fresh turmeric or ginger, by all means use those but I definitely reuse them. I would tend to rinse them and use them in a new batch of tea. You could make more milk as well.
Turmeric Milk Ingredients
~2 cups of milk (or
substitute coconut milk),
~1 teaspoon dried turmeric (or one-half inch fresh turmeric thinly sliced or diced),
~ 1 teaspoon dried ginger (or one-half inch fresh ginger thinly sliced or diced),
~A sprinkle of black pepper,
~Honey to taste.
Turmeric Milk Steps
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add turmeric, ginger, and pepper. Stir well if you are using the dried spices.Let the milk begin to simmer — small bubbles will form on the sides of the saucepan. Stir.
Allow to heat for another minute or two being careful not to let the milk overheat. Continue to stir at this point to get better heat distribution and so that you don’t end up distracted in the kitchen and end up with boiled turmeric in your burner pans (*cough*).
Turn off heat, cover, and allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes or so to improve the infusion.
Strain the milk through a strainer if you have used
fresh ingredients. Serve warm.
2) HOW TO MANAGE 3 HORMONES THAT CAN INFLUENCE WEIGH LOSS
by Jennifer Landa
It’s as old as time: The urge to get into better shape in the New Year. Something about a fresh calendar year and a clean slate beckons you to the gym with hopes of new beginnings, healthier living, and maybe even those washboard abs you’ve never quite been able to make happen.
If you’re like the millions of Americans who purchase new gym memberships in January, you may be brimming with motivation right about now— which is great! Ride that wave of willpower. But it’s not just what you eat and how much you exercise that matters; understanding your hormones and how to work with them is a huge part of weight loss success.
Before you embark on your new year’s weight loss plan, get to know the three most influential hormones that
are crucial to slimming down— and how to get them on your side.
Produced in your stomach, ghrelin is your hunger hormone. If you skip a meal, your ghrelin levels rise and make you ravenous, making it nearly impossible for you to resist the next food item you see. For these reasons, skipping breakfast to shave some calories off the day is a big mistake if you’re on the weight loss train; ghrelin is high in the morning after you’ve fasted all night, so you really need to fuel yourself first thing to keep it in check.
And fueling with the right food is just as important as fueling, period: A study published in the journal Clinical Science showed that a high protein meal lowers ghrelin levels significantly more than meals high in fat and carbohydrates. So focus on a high-protein breakfast, such as casein and whey-free protein shakes, and veggie omelettes. And don’t stop at breakfast— aim to get at least 20 grams of
protein at lunch and dinner to keep ghrelin low after each meal.
Leptin is your helpful sidekick on the weight loss journey; you want no shortage of this hormone if your goal is to drop a pant size or two. It’s an appetite suppressor, telling you when to stop eating. But a little known fact about leptin is that this hormone’s effects in our bodies decrease with age. The older we get, the more likely we are to have leptin resistance, which is when our bodies don’t respond to leptin’s signals (so your brain doesn’t get the message to stop eating). To raise your levels of leptin and increase your sensitivity to this hormone, eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and boost your intake of foods that contain Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has been shown to stimulate the production of leptin. Try wild salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Lack of sleep also lowers leptin and increases ghrelin, bringing on the urge to eat more, so be sure
to get at least seven and a half hours of shuteye.
Stress and cortisol go hand in hand, and cortisol and belly fat go hand in hand. Anytime you’re faced with a stressful situation, your body pumps out cortisol to meet the challenge. Cortisol encourages your body to hold on to visceral fat— that spare tire around your waist— and it also drives you toward sweet and salty foods to quell the tension you feel (they release pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain).
To counteract cortisol’s fat-storing effects, cut down on your coffee consumption and steer totally clear of it when you’re feeling stressed. Caffeine taps your adrenal glands to release cortisol, which can be helpful before an interview or big presentation since it sharpens your focus. But when you mix caffeine with stress, your cortisol levels jump higher and stay high for longer.
One study out of the University of Oklahoma showed that
consuming 2 and a half to 3 cups of coffee while under mild stress caused cortisol to jump 25 percent— and remain high for 3 hours. Another cortisol-lowering tip: Make it a point to surround yourself with positive people who make you laugh! Simply anticipating a laugh has been shown to lower cortisol levels.
Once you understand how these three hormones work, you can make it easier for your body to drop excess weight, and suddenly your weight loss quest becomes less painful for you. Why starve if it’s just going to raise your ghrelin levels and make it harder to resist bad food choices? And why not find more time for that funny friend if she’s a secret weight loss weapon?
As you move forward with your healthier intentions this year, the most important thing is that you believe you deserve to look and feel better. You deserve that leaner body, a more nutritious diet, a healthier heart, better energy and the many other gifts that come from making
and honoring that commitment to yourself. Only good will flow from there.
Here’s to a lean 2015!
Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, the nation's largest franchise of physicians specializing in bioidentical hormone therapy. Dr. Jen spent 10 years as a traditional OB-GYN, and then became board-certified in regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on bio-identical hormones, preventative medicine and nutrition. She is the author of "The S ex Drive Solution for Women." Learn more about her programs at www.jenlandamd.com.
3) 5 SURPRISING FOODS FOR BETTER SLEEP (AND 4 TO AVOID)
by Diana Vilibert
Tossing and turning? The answer to—or the cause of—your sleep issues may be in your fridge. Read on to find which foods to consider adding to your diet for a more peaceful slumber…and which to stay away from before bed.
5 SNOOZE FOODS:
High antioxidant and serotonin levels could be the secret behind the kiwi’s sleep superpowers—in one study, eating two kiwis an hour before bed for four weeks was correlated with falling asleep 35 percent faster, a 28 percent dip in waking during the night, and better sleep quality.
Drinking an eight-ounce glass of tart cherry juice twice a day can get you an average of 84 extra minutes of sleep each night, according to research from Louisiana State University. It’s a natural source of both melatonin—a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles—and tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to aid sleep.
A cup of chickpeas has almost a full day’s recommended supply of vitamin B6, which helps the body produce melatonin and serotonin. You’ll also find it in tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey.
If you’re grabbing Thai take-out, don’t be shy about loading up on jasmine rice—eating it four hours before bed correlated with falling asleep faster in a 2007 study.
Salad may not be the first thing you reach for when you want a good night’s sleep, but the magnesium content found in spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens make them a great option for a peaceful snooze—insomnia is one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. In elderly people, magnesium supplements improved sleep time and the amount of time it took to fall asleep.
4 SLEEP DISTURBERS:
Wings for dinner? Make ‘em mild—spicy foods raise your body temperature, which can lead to more brain activity come bedtime. Not only can that lead to poor sleep, there’s also some speculation that a spicy meal before bedtime can contribute to strange dreams or nightmares.
Would you like
fries and insomnia with that? Foods high in fat stimulate acid production in the stomach, which can lead to nighttime heartburn. Of those who report having nighttime heartburn, 75 percent said the symptoms impacted their sleep.
You may fall asleep faster and more easily after happy hour, but alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep throughout the course of the night, keeping you from entering the deeper stages of sleep and leaving you tired in the morning.
No surprise here—caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and though people’s sensitivity varies, it’s a good idea for most to skip it later in the day. Research has found that caffeine consumption even six hours before bed can disturb sleep, so avoid relying on coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated teas and sodas to get you through the afternoon slump. And watch out for surprising sources of caffeine, like dark chocolate and Excedrin.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Thank you for reading.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
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