Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Fall Total Health Tip

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I, like so many overscheduled parents, appreciate the “respite” that comes when the kids go back to school. However a feeling of trepidation sets in with the onset of cold and flu season. Starting with Halloween and continuing through the holidays, the deluge of sweets and sugary delights, accompanied by a change in the weather, can send our immune system back on vacation. Patients often ask me what I do at home for myself and my family during this season, so I’ll share some of our personal practices with you so that you too can stay as healthy as possible.

The number one preventive action is to eat a clean, as close-to-the-source diet as possible and specifically, cut out any excess sugar. Four teaspoons of sugar (the amount in 1/2 can of soda) significantly decreases the effectiveness of your immune system for up to four hours. So, if you think about the massive sugar increase that typically begins to happen at this time of year (and many people are on a continual “drip” of sweets) the immune system is in a constant state of stress. Throw in a quick exposure to all of the bugs “shared” in the office and the classroom and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect storm.

The second is an addition to the hackneyed ol’ adage “Wash your hands!”  Washing is very important, but what it comes down to, is not putting those little buggies anywhere near your mucous membranes. Try to become aware of how much you actually touch your face and then train yourself out of the habit. Most people do this hundreds if not thousands of time each day giving those viruses a free ride.  Flu viruses are easily picked up on any hard surface and can be introduced to your system when you handle your food, so it’s important to wash and avoid touching your face.

Third, in my family I don’t like to take any chances so we do some active immune building. One of my favorites for prevention is Echinacea. The root is the part of the plant that contains the most concentrated and effective of the active ingredients responsible for modulating the immune system. To see whether the brand you are buying will be effective, place a bit on your tongue. If your tongue is not tingling or feeling partially numb, chances are that it will not be as effective. I carry a brand of Echinacea in the clinic which is tested for pharmaceutical consistency so I know I’m giving my patients and family the product which is going to get the job done.

As a last note, sometimes, in spite of all our efforts to maintain balance, the bugs do actually get in. If this is the case, Andrographis can significantly reduce the severity and duration of many infections by quickly ramping up your immune system. If I start to feel a tickle in my throat or a little sniffle, I’ll start taking Andrographis tablets right away. As with Echinacea, make sure that it has a significant effect on your tongue to ensure that it contains enough of the active ingredients.

I’d love to hear from you about your health concerns.  I may even address them in an upcoming newletter.   Email me at info@sbtotalhealth.

My greatest wishes to you for a healthy and joyous holiday season.   David

The Power of Fish!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

If you ever read the news or any sort of health magazine, you have undoubtedly heard about the benefits of fish oil. To recap (and maybe add a few):

1. Fish is a great source of protein that is easily digestible and like other forms of animal protein, the more fat in the fish the better it is for us.

2. DHA, one of the very beneficial components of fish oil, is a necessary nutrient for human health.  In scientific studies, DHA in adequate dosages has been show to arrest the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If you want a smart kid, supplementing with fish oil rich in DHA is a great way to stack the cards in favor your child’s intelligence.

3. Fish oil has a profoundly beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system by improving the ratios of HDL and LDL.

4. It also significantly improves the function of the eyes.

I am a big fan of having variety in the diet. I think it gives us the greatest opportunity to include many different types of nutrients in our diet.  Getting stuck in a food rut and consuming basically the same diet day in and day out can be a nutritional disaster if the components of your diet are not really well rounded.  Because of it’s price and availability, for many of us our default protein source is poultry, mainly chicken.  Yes, it’s a good form of protein, but consider the variety principle.  Fish on a semi-regular basis is a good way to switch up your diet and living in close proximity to the ocean give us easy access to a fresh bounty on a regular basis.

Concerned about the mercury content of fish? Certain varieties of fish contain more mercury than others. Check out  ewg.org for a list of fish that’s safer to eat.

There are, however, a number of ways that you can help keep the mercury from being absorbed into your body. Mercury is considered a heavy metal and is a potent neurotoxin. It  can be very detrimental to human health. If your body is flush with with minerals, it makes it more difficult for mercury to bind to human tissues as it competes with other minerals for binding sites. If your body is looking for minerals because it’s deficient, it will take the next closest thing….another metal. So start by making sure that your are getting a good source of minerals. Organic leafy greens are a rich source of these minerals. Chlorella is a type of algae and is sold as a food supplement. It has been shown to bind with and aid the removal of toxic metals from the body. Cilantro will also help to remove mercury and other metals from nervous system tissue. Garlic, while not specifically acting on the metals, will help the body to detoxify by moving toxins out of the body especially through the kidneys. Lemon juice which will neutralize the fishy smell in fish also seems to have a beneficial effect on keeping the toxic metals out of the body.

If you have questions about sources for chlorella or you are wondering if heavy metals may be affecting your system, feel free to give me a ring or e-mail me.

To your good health!

David