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Food That Doubles As Medicine

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A typical visit to the doctor might leave you with a bottle of pills and instructions to take them twice daily.

But a small, growing number of physicians are “prescribing” foods not only for weight management, but also to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

CNN spoke with medical nutrition experts to unearth the specific foods they recommend. And you don’t have to be a chef or nutritionist to take advantage of these healthy choices.

While one food might be recommended as treatment for a specific ailment, it’s important to remember that a single food item doesn’t work in isolation, said Dr. Melina Jampolis, a board-certified physician nutrition specialist.

“True nutrition experts prefer to speak about dietary patterns or groups of foods, as nutrients in foods work in combination to improve certain conditions,” Jampolis said.

However, there are notable exceptions to this rule, said Dr. John La Puma, a practicing physician and professionally trained chef. Here are 10 you may want to stock your kitchen with before reaching in the medicine cabinet.

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Buckwheat honey for a cough

Derived from the bee nectar of flowers of the buckwheat grain, buckwheat honey might eventually make its way into every parent’s medicine cabinet.

“Buckwheat honey is better than cough syrup for nocturnal cough in kids,” according to La Puma. This is an especially useful food-as-medicine for children under 6, who are ill-advised to take over-the-counter cough medicines.

“Foods can work like medicine in the body — and they do,” said La Puma.

chico_massage_therapy_therapeutic_massage_food-medicine_picklesPickled foods for diarrhea

Fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, miso, kimchi and poi. These foods contain living bacteria that help maintain the health of the digestive tract, said Dr. Gerard Mullin, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author of “The Gut Balance Revolution.”

These bacteria-filled foods can be used to prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, infantile diarrhea, eczema and allergies, according to Mullin. “But the hottest use of fermented foods is to burn stubborn fat,” Mullin said.

A study from 2012 that reviewed data from 82 clinical trials found probiotic foods were indeed effective at treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea. However, the data for using probiotics as a treatment for eczema are mixed. Some research found supporting evidence while other studies did not.

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Ginger for menstrual cramps

Ginger is a pungent spice originating from Southeast Asia. “As a digestive disease specialist I frequently recommend the spice ginger in the form of tea for nausea and abdominal discomfort,” said Mullin.

Ginger could also be a helpful food-as-medicine for women. “Ginger probably works as well as ibuprofen for menstrual cramps. It works taken as a ginger capsule or chewed,” said La Puma.

One scientific review of seven clinical trials found that 750 to 2000 milligrams of ginger powder taken during the first four days of menstrual cycle was an effective treatment for cramps.

Peppermint for IBS

Think beyond candy canes and chewing gum. Peppermint is also found in supplement, essential oil and tea forms. When used medicinally, peppermint is prescribed to help treat abdominal cramping and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“What I find interesting about peppermint is that when compared to the various medical therapies for IBS, peppermint is the most effective and the least toxic,” Mullin told CNN.

Peppermint oil is effective — and could be the first line of treatment — against irritable bowel syndrome, according to a 2005 scientific review of 16 clinical trials.

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Hibiscus tea for high blood pressure

“Hibiscus tea has a greater anti-hypertensive effect than blueberries,” said La Puma. Infused as an herbal tea, hibiscus flowers contain anthocyanins, which could help to lower blood pressure.

The steeples of the flower are dried and made into a tea drink, which has a tart cranberry taste, La Puma said.

Multiple studies back up the blood-pressure-lowering abilities of hibiscus, including one published in the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences.

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Turmeric for arthritis

Native to southwest India, turmeric has a warm, bitter flavor. Used medicinally, Jampolis recommends turmeric to help treat inflammatory conditions.

“Turmeric is used especially for brain-related conditions and to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It can be also be used for arthritis,” said Jampolis.

Add black pepper to turmeric to maximize the disease-fighting benefits. “This helps your body absorb more of the curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric that delivers the positive health effects,” said La Puma.

Indeed, an article published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology explains the various disease-fighting benefits of turmeric.

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Chia seeds for high cholesterol

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are nutrient-dense and often labeled as a “superfood.”

Dr. Jampolis said she recommends them to patients with high LDL cholesterol as a bonus to other healthy food choices. “I can actually say that I’ve seen great results just adding chia seeds to an already healthy diet for lowering cholesterol,” said Jampolis.

Steel-cut oatmeal for high LDL cholesterol

“This is a no-brainer for lowering LDL if you haven’t tried anything else,” said La Puma. “There are lots of studies showing that foods high in soluble fiber lower LDL cholesterol.”

One such study found that eating at least 3 grams of oats daily is associated with lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Try mixing in a spoonful of chia seeds to maximize the cholesterol-lowering impact.
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Beans for high blood sugar levels

Beans are useful in lowering blood sugar levels and managing high cholesterol, according to Jampolis. And because they’re loaded with fiber, beans can help induce that “full” feeling to help with weight loss.

“I have certainly seen improvements in blood sugar with encouraging more fiber-rich foods like beans that are also rich in magnesium, but it is harder to isolate that effect alone,” said Jampolis.

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Salmon for inflamation

With its pink-orange hue and distinct smell, salmon is one of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are an important part of treating any inflammatory or autoimmune condition, according to Dr. Jampolis.

Jampolis also recommends salmon to those dealing with high triglyceride levels, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or MS.

“I think most people think food can’t possibly be as potent as drugs, but I see the powerful direct benefits all the time,” said Jampolis.

Article By: CNN

Take a Detox Bath After Your Massage

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A detox bath is one of the easiest healing therapies we can do to facilitate our body’s natural detoxification system.

In this day and age, our bodies are subject to more toxins than ever.

Toxins are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the medications we take and in the water we drink. Toxins cause irritation, harm and destruction in the body if left unchecked.

Detoxification is the body’s way of removing and metabolizing these dangerous compounds. It is a process the body does naturally without us even knowing it. However, the capacity of the body’s detoxification process is not endless.

A detox bath encourages the body to efficiently flush out toxins.

Our toxic burden is a result of the toxins we are exposed to and our body’s ability to naturally detox. The more toxins we are exposed to, the harder the body has to work at eliminating these toxins.

The list of toxins that could potentially harm our bodies is almost endless; many start their day with a hot shower, the water is contaminated with pollutants, the soap and shampoo is full of chemicals, the toothpaste has fluoride, from there we may have breakfast where the food has been treated with pesticides or even genetically modified.

We haven’t even left our house, yet we have been exposed to toxins that can potentially cause ill-health.

Even more alarming is our exposure to toxic substances is on the rise:

  • 2,100 toxins, including pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, and medications have been found in our water supply
  • 80,000 metric tons of carcinogens are released into the air annually in North America
  • Over 80% of food have genetically modified ingredients
  • The EPA estimates the average US citizen has residues from over 400 toxic compounds in their body
  • 82,000 chemicals are in use today in the US, but only a fourth have ever been tested for toxicity

While it is impossible to abolish our exposure to all toxins, we can reduce unnecessary exposure, as well as improve our body’s efficiency and ability to eliminate them.

Taking a detox bath, not only boosts our health and well-being, but it also strengthens our immune system and prevents disease.

When metabolic waste from toxins builds up in our body, we get sick. Functional medicine expert, Dr. Mark Hyman, puts it this way, “problems with detoxification is one root of illness. If you feel lousy, it’s likely you’re toxic.”

It is important to enhance our body’s ability to detoxify and get rid of the waste, meanwhile minimizing our exposure to toxins. This is imperative for excellent health, as many of today’s modern diseases are related to toxicity.

The liver removes toxins and metabolic waste from the body by converting them to water-soluble compounds.

Once water-soluble they can be eliminated from the body through urine. Some waste products are not water-soluble and are transformed by the liver and excreted in the bile. The bile is then transported to the intestines where it exits the body through our bowels.

Toxins not eliminated or completely removed by either of these processes may be eliminated through our skin via our sweat.

A detox bath is one of the easiest healing therapies that can be done to facilitate and enhance our body’s natural detoxification process.

Typically, a detox bath is made with Epsom salt also known as magnesium sulfate, which not only draws out toxins, but has health benefits of its own:

Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration

Help muscles and nerves function properly

Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes

Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots

Make insulin more effective

Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps

Improve oxygen use

Flush toxins

Improve absorption of nutrients

Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins

Help prevent or ease migraine headaches

 

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Take a Detox Bath After Massage

 

How to Draw a Detox Bath

1. Add 5-10 drops essential oil (I love lavender) to 2 cups Epsom salt, then add to a standard tub full of water.

2. Ideally, you want the water quite hot as we are looking to create a nice sweat.

3. If your bath water is not filtered, add 1 cup of baking soda as this helps neutralize the chemicals, primarily chlorine, as well as increase mineral absorption.

4. Immerse yourself in the water, all the way up to your neck. You want as much of your body underwater as you can. Close your eyes, do some breathing exercises and soak for at least 20 minutes.

5. Once you are done soaking, rise out of the tub very slowly and cautiously. You may feel a little dizzy and light-headed, this will go away as you shower off quickly in cool water.

6. It is important not to use harsh soaps or shampoos as your pores are open and will just absorb the chemicals found in those products.

7. Once dry you can apply a natural moisturizer like body butter, shea butter or coconut oil and some aluminum-free deodorant, but again no lotions with perfumes, dyes or chemicals.

8. Do not eat immediately before or after taking a detox bath.

9. Instead hydrate yourself with filtered water before and after.

10. Allow time after your bath to rest and rejuvenate.

 

Article By: Healthy Living How-to