The Fig: Sweet. Succulent. Sensual.

The Fig: Sweet. Succulent. Sensual.

One of the “Seven Spices of Israel” and referenced in many religious texts as a sacred fruit, the fig (Angeer), is rich in nutrition and history. For centuries, figs have been referenced in mythology and traditional medicine as a powerful sexual supplement. While they have yet to be adequately studied as an aphrodisiac in humans, some animal studies show figs can increase sperm count and motility. The health benefits of figs are far ranging. They are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.

The fig offers a unique combination of textures – chewy flesh, smooth skin, and crunchy seeds. California figs are typically harvested June through September. European varieties are available into the fall months. The majority of figs are dried fruits that can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

When selecting dried figs, they should be plump and soft. They will keep for long periods in a cool, dry place. When choosing fresh figs, which are beautifully delicate, select those with deep color, little bruising and sweet fragrance. Keep them in the fridge and plan to eat them in one or two days; don’t wash until ready to eat. If figs are not yet ripe, keep them at room temperature to ripen.

Figs can add a sweet sensation to just about any dish. But the high fiber can produce a laxative effect, so don’t over do it.

Roasted Fig and Goat Cheese

You and your partner will swoon over the delectable combination of sweet, ripe fig filled with creamy goat cheese and drizzled with tangy balsamic and honey. All natural and gluten free, perfect for a romantic appetizer or healthy snacking after a little love in the afternoon!

Ingredients

  • 12 Black Mission figs, halved vertically
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While the oven preheats, melt the butter in a small saucepan, along with the balsamic vinegar, honey, and a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Place the figs, cut side up, in a baking dish the size of a pie pan. Top each fig half with a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of goat cheese. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar syrup over the figs.
  4. Roast in the oven until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with flaky salt.

 

Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance how to improve your health. Here, at Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. we evaluate our patients through holistic and functional medicine understanding of health and balance of vital organs and system and prescribe a comprehensive treatment plan.

 

References

  • Patil, V. & Patil, V.R., “Ficas carica: An Overview.” Research Jl. of Medicinal Plants. (2011) 5:3, 246-253. Accessed on 10 June 2016: http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/academicjournals/rjmp/2011/246-253.pdf
  • California Rare Fruit Growers. Accessed on 10 June 2016: https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/fig.html
  • The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed on 10 June 2016: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=24#nutritionalprofile
  • Organic Facts. “Health Benefits of Fig.” Accessed on 10 June 2016: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-figs-or-anjeer.html *Has a terrific chart How to Stay Healthy on Figs that is downloadable.
  • Naghdi M., Maghbool M., et al. “Effects of Common Fig (Ficus carica) Leaf Extracts on Sperm Parameters and Testis of Mice Intoxicated with Formaldehyde.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (2016) doi:10.1155/2016/2539127. Accessed 10 June 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745414/
  • http://www.popsugar.com/food/Easy-Roasted-Fig-Goat-Cheese-Recipe-9205886
The Importance of Beta-Carotene

The Importance of Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene has two important functions in the body: It functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage, and it can be converted to Vitamin A (retinol), critical to maintaining skin and eye health.

Without beta-carotene, our bodies are unable to manufacture Vitamin A. And without sufficient Vitamin A, nearly all of our systems are at risk, including lungs, kidneys and immune function. Research shows that people who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene are able to lower their risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and other age-related diseases.

You can get beta-carotene from a variety of foods:

  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Yam/Sweet Potato
  • Spinach
  • Kale

The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 3,000 IU for adult men and 2,310 IU for adult women. For children, amounts vary according to age. While beta-carotene deficiency is rare in most industrialized countries, it can be difficult getting the recommended levels simply from food. That’s where supplements come in. In consult with your healthcare practitioner, design a plan that meets your individual needs. You may want to consider a supplement with a mixture of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.

It’s possible to take too much beta-carotene. This is usually indicated by a yellowing of the skin, palms or soles and is known as carotenemia. Once consumption of beta carotene is reduced, this yellowing fades over time. As always, your best outcomes are achieved when working closely with your healthcare practitioner.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if Beta-Carotene is the right supplement for you. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

 

References

  • MedicalNewsToday.com “What is Beta Carotene?” Accessed on March 30, 2016. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php
  • National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A. Medical handout for health professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  • MedlinePlus.com. “Beta Carotene”. Accessed on March 30, 2016. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/999.html
  • Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2000:325-400. Accessed on March 30, 2016 http://www.nap.edu/read/9810/chapter/1
  • Bendich, A. “Functions and Actions of Retinoids and Carotenoids: Building on the Vision of James Allen Olson.” Jnl of Nutrition. (2004) American Society for Nutritional Sciences. Accessed on March 30, 2016. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/1/225S.full.pdf
  • van Poppel G, Spanhaak S, Ockhuizen T. Effect of beta-carotene on immunological indexes in healthy male smokers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993; 57(3):402-407. Accessed on March 30, 2016 http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/57/3/402?related-urls=yes&legid=ajcn;57/3/402
Garlic: Good for Your Heart!

Garlic: Good for Your Heart!

It may not smell like a lily, but Garlic (Allium sativum) is an edible bulb from the lily family. Fondly known to herbalists as “the stinking rose”, for centuries, there has been many traditional medicine uses for Garlic, including treatment of skin conditions, immune support, antimicrobial and, to reduce risk for cancer and heart disease. In fact, Garlic is one of the most widely studied herbal supplements for its beneficial effects on the heart.

The benefits of garlic are far ranging. Garlic contains several vitamins and minerals that support heart health, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and selenium. But it’s the chemicals that give garlic its pungent odor that scientists believe are the source of the herb’s heart health-promoting effects. Garlic is rich in the antioxidant compounds (allicin, alliin, and ajoene) that help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Studies on garlic and the cardiovascular system typically use garlic powder, oil, or aged extracts. To date, the effects of garlic on the heart that are supported by science include:

Slows the development of atherosclerosis (building the plaques that cause narrowing of the arteries)

Reduces blood pressure

Reduces triglycerides and therefore lowers total cholesterol

The amount of active compounds supplied by garlic supplements can vary because allicin is fragile to things such as air and heat. For example, aging garlic to reduce its odor also reduces the allicin present and compromises the effectiveness of the product. Adding to your diet 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic per day may be sufficient to protect your cardio-vascular system. Easiest way to do it is to blend it with your morning shake and rip full benefits of food based nutrients. To prevent garlic smell adds cilantro or parsley to the blend, which are also powerful antioxidant herbs.

Generally safe for most adults, taking a garlic supplement can cause heartburn, upset stomach, an allergic reaction, and breath and body odor (common with raw garlic). Garlic should not be taken by persons who are preparing for surgery or who have bleeding disorders because it can impair the body’s ability to form blood clots.

 

References

  • World’s Healthiest Foods: Garlic. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Garlic. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/garlic/ataglance.htm
  • Medline Plus. Herbs and Supplements: Garlic. (Includes information on garlic interactions with other drugs) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/300.html
  • Karagodin VP, Sobenin IA, Orekhov AN. Antiatherosclerotic and Cardioprotective Effects of Time-Released Garlic Powder Pills. Curr Pharm Des. 2015 Nov 12. Available from: http://www.eurekaselect.com/136921/article
  • Seki, T. and Hosono, T. Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases by Garlic-Derived Sulfur Compounds. Jnl of Nutritional Science & Vitaminology (Tokyo). 2015. 61 Suppl:S83-85. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.61.S83. Date Accessed: Dec 8, 2015. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/61/Supplement/61_S83/_pdf
  • Xiong, XJ., Wang, PQ, et al., Garlic for hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15;22(3):352-61. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.12.013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837272

 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe (gluten and dairy free!)

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe (gluten and dairy free!)

There are so many reasons – and so many ways – to love avocado. A culinary superfood, avocados provide up to 20 nutrients including vitamins K, C and E, as well as folate, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, they actually have more potassium than bananas.

Unlike most fruits, avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in a healthy fat called oleic acid. Like olive oil, oleic acid has been linked to health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting cells against cancer, and reducing cholesterol. This amazing fruit also improves digestive health and helps your body absorb other nutrients.

There are limitless ways to add avocado to snacks or meals: Use avocado as a healthy spread on toast; blend it into scrambled eggs; add it to dips, salsa, or soup; slice for a salad topping.

Avocado is optimally ripe when the fruit is mildly soft to touch. Its flesh should be creamy and green-gold in color. If you don’t use the whole fruit at one time, keep leftover avocado fresh by leaving the pit in the unused portion and allow it to sit, uncovered, on a counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge (still uncovered) for up to two days. When you want to use the other half, simply peel off the brown crust to reveal a soft and deliciously ripe avocado beneath.

Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline? This rich, creamy avocado mousse is about as close as you’ll get to a truly healthy chocolate treat. Serves 1.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed, mash slightly with a fork
  • 3 1/2 Tbs unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs RAW honey
  • Unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk

Preparation:

  1. Place avocado and cocoa powder in food processor. Add honey.
  2. Process avocado, cocoa powder and honey for approximately 1 min, pausing to scrape the sides, or until a thick, smooth mousse forms.
  3. Add milk as needed to bring to desired consistency.
  4. Spoon mousse into a small bowl; top with almonds or fresh fruit.

 

Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance how to improve your health. Here, at Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. we evaluate our patients through holistic and functional medicine understanding of health and balance of vital organs and system. As a result we rescribe a comprehensive treatment plan.

References
  • Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 53.7 (2013): 738-750. PMC. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
  • WorldsHealthiestFoods.com. “What’s New and Beneficial About Avocados?” http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5 Accessed on March 29, 2016
  • AuthorityNutrition.com “Avocado 101” https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/avocado/ Accessed on March 29, 2016
  • “12 Proven Benefits of Avocado” https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/
  • Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD, et al. “Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Semin Cancer Biol.” (2007 May 17). Accessed on March 29, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17582784
Flaxseed Nutrients (And A Tasty Flaxseed Muffin Recipe!)

Flaxseed Nutrients (And A Tasty Flaxseed Muffin Recipe!)

While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.

 

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.

 

2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.

 

3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.

 

Purchasing and Storing Flax

Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.

 

Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins

Whether you’re serving breakfast on the deck or packing a picnic lunch, these muffins add a perfect combination of sweetness and nutrition to your meal. Enjoy them plain or topped with preserves.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium apples
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds

Makes 6 muffins.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six-muffin tin with large paper cups and set aside. Peel and puree the apples in a blender or food processor. Set aside (mixture will turn brown).

In a large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, and slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring. When wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the apple puree; stir to combine.

Using a measuring cup or scoop, evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. (fill nearly all the way to the top; because these are gluten-free, they won’t rise very much.) Sprinkle flax seeds on top of each muffin. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 to 10 minutes.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

 

References
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
  • WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “What’s New and Beneficial About Flaxseed?” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81
  • University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. “Menopause” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause
  • Goyal, A., et al., “Flax and Flaxseed Oil: An Ancient Medicine & Modern Functional Food.” Journal of Food Science and Technology 51.9 (2014): 1633–1653. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/
  • Peterson, J., et al., “Dietary Lignans: Physiology and Potential for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction.” Nutrition reviews 68.10 (2010): 571–603. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951311/
  • Poluzzi, E.,et al., “Phytoestrogens in Postmenopause: The State of the Art from a Chemical, Pharmacological and Regulatory Perspective.” Current Medicinal Chemistry 21.4 (2014): 417–436. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963458/
  • Ewies, AA. “Phytoestrogens in the Management of Menopause: up-to-date.” Obstet Gynecol Surv (2002, May). 57(5): pp 306-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11997677
  • Dew, T.P., et al., “Controlled Flax Interventions for the Improvement of Menopausal Symptoms and Postmenopausal Bone Health.” Menopause. (2013) 20:11, pp. 1207-1215. Accessed on March 23, 2016.
  • Botanical-online.com “Mucilage Properties” Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.botanical-online.com/english/mucilage.htm
Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins
Adapted from: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gluten-free-flax-seed-muffins
Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in “cruciferous” vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Scientists think these crunchy vegetables may help protect the body against cancer because they contain diindolylmethane and a related chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

DIM helps balance the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. When the body breaks down estrogen, for example, it can form either a harmful or beneficial metabolite. DIM, in some clinical and animal studies, has been shown to help the body form the more beneficial estrogen metabolite and reduce formation of the harmful metabolite. The beneficial estrogen metabolites can have many positive effects, including reducing the risk for some types of cancer. DIM may benefit patients with certain types of prostate cancer and may help reverse abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some scientists think DIM will be useful for preventing breast, uterine and colorectal cancer. However, because of the variability in types of cancer and the sensitivity of the estrogen system in the body, DIM and I3C supplements may not be appropriate for everyone.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if DIM is the right supplement for you. In her practice, she uses advanced hormonal testing to evaluate your individual risk of hormonal related conditions. She uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

 

 

References
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Database. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/diindolylmethane
  • Fujioka, N. et al., ” Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: a tribute to lee w. wattenberg.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Feb 2016) doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500889. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840393
  • Ashrafian, L.,et al. “Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled multicenter clinical trial (phase IIa) on di-indolylmethane’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of CIN: implications for cervical cancer prevention.” The EPMA Journal. (2015) 6:25. doi:10.1186/s13167-015-0048-9. Accessed on March 23, 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685602/
  • Ahmad, A., et al., “The Bounty of Nature for changing the cancer landscape.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Jan 2016). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500867. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799714
  • Higdon, J.V. et al., “Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacol Res. (Mar 2007) 55(3): p 224-36. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661807000321
  • Minich, D.M. & Bland, S. “A Review of the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Cruciferous Vegetable Phytochemicals.” DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00303.x p 259-267 First published online: 1 June 2007. Available from: http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/6/259
Mercury in Seafood

How To Avoid Mercury In Seafood?

Many of us heard about the problem of contaminated fish, and the issue of found mercury in seafood in particular. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, harmful to the developing brains of fetuses, babies, and young children,  as well as adults. Functional medicine and environmental medicine views mercury and other toxic metals as one of the major risk factors in the development of chronic medical illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

However, we also have heard about valuable, essential Omega 3 fatty acids that carry so many benefits and we know that the easiest way to get Omega 3s into our body is by eating seafood.

So how much fish to eat and what kind of fish?

The group at highest risk of mercury exposure are pregnant women.

Federal agencies (FDA and EPA ) advise women who are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant to eat much more seafood, an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids essential to babies’ development. They say these women should eat 8- 12 ounces of fish and shellfish a week – more than twice as much as the average American.

Now, a new EWG study finds that federal government’s recommendations on seafood and mercury may be risky, potentially leading women to eat too much of the wrong kind of fish. Nationwide testing found that mothers who eat the quantity of seafood recommended by the FDA and EPA, are at risk of exposing their babies to harmful doses of mercury while not providing them with enough healthy omega-3s.

EWG recruited 254 women of childbearing age from 40 states who reported eating as much or slightly more fish than the government recommends. A university lab tested samples of their hair, where mercury accumulates, which reflects the level of mercury in the body as the hair grew.

Nearly three in 10 of the women had more mercury in their bodies than the EPA considers safe – a level many experts say is much too high for pregnant women. Almost 60 percent of participants had more mercury than a stricter limit recommended by experts, who analyzed hair samples for EWG’s study, and scientists from two prestigious European institutions.

The frequent seafood eaters had an average of 11 times more mercury compared to a group who rarely ate seafood, proving that the high mercury levels came from the fish rather than other sources.

To limit mercury consumption, FDA and EPA recommend that women eat no more than six ounces a week of canned albacore tuna and no shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel. But the study of Environmental Working Group (EWG), independent environmental agency, suggests that many women who follow that advice will not get enough omega-3s in their diet, yet, have exposure to mercury.

To eat or not to eat seafood?

Researchers overwhelmingly recommend low mercury fish as the most reliable source of omega-3s. The mercury in seafood erodes the benefits of an otherwise healthy food, and in some cases tips the scale to the point that the fish becomes harmful.

It is all about WHAT FISH YOU CHOOSE TO EAT.

EWG reports the full list of low mercury-high omega-3 fish, such as wild salmon, that women should add to their diets. It also lists the additional species they should limit or avoid for up to a year before conception, such as seabass, halibut and marlin.

EWG’s Good Seafood Guide provides a guideline for consumers looking to reduce their intake of mercury consumption and increase intake of omega-3 fats. The EWG Seafood Calculator estimates portion size and frequency based on a child or adult’s weight and recommends that pregnant women and children ingest 25 percent less mercury than the current EPA guideline.

Click on the link below for a list of recommended fish:

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-consumer-guide-seafood/seafood-calculator?fish_form_weight=126&fish_form_age=adult&fish_form_gender=F&fish_form_pregnant=N&fish_form_heart_disease=N

 

 

 

Wherever You Shop: Say NO to GMO Foods!

Wherever You Shop: Say NO to GMO Foods!

From farmer’s markets to grocery stores, to shop with confidence about avoiding GMO foods you need to shop smarter. Here’s how:

When in doubt, Go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use of GMOs. Look for the USDA Organic Seal on labels for produce as well as meat, dairy, eggs and fish.

Look for the non-GMO Project logo.

This third-party verification means the food has been tested for GMOs. Look for the colorful butterfly and plant logo on the label.

Check for a grocery chain’s organic line. Some grocers, like Whole Foods have their own organic and non-GMO products.

Look at the PLU Code on produce. When shopping for fruits and vegetables, your first choice should be those labeled with a five-digit PLU that begins with a “9,” which indicates the food is certified organic. Produce items containing a four-digit PLU are considered “conventional” – not technically GMO, but may still contain pesticides and other toxic residues. If the PLU begins with an “8,” avoid it.

Avoid “at-risk” ingredients. The five most prevalent GMO crops are corn, canola, soy, cottonseed and sugar beets. These are also typically added to packaged foods as corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents, thickeners and other ingredients. Choose organic or non-GMO verified.

The most common “genetically-tinkered-with” crops are:

  • Corn (especially sweet corn)
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Edamame (soy)
  • Sugar – unless you are buying pure cane sugar, expect a GM variety of beet sugar.
  • Artificial sweeteners are likely derived from GM sources

Go Bulk. Dry grains, beans, nuts and seeds are typically non-GMO (exceptions listed above).

 

References

  • SustainablePulse. “GM Crops Now Banned in 38 Countries Worldwide.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/10/22/gm-crops-now-banned-in-36-countries-worldwide-sustainable-pulse-research/#.Vuq4yRIrJE4
  • Non-GMO Shopping Guide. “Tips For Avoiding GMO’s.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/tips-for-avoiding-gmos.html
  • Non-GMO Product Verification & Information. Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.nongmoproject.org
  • Food Matters. “6 Easy Ways to Avoid GMO Products.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/6-easy-ways-to-avoid-gmos
  • Organic Consumers Association. “An Interview with Jeffrey Smith on GM Food Safety.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/interview-jeffrey-smith-gm-food-safety
  • Medicine Talk Blog. “What You Really Need to Know About GMOs: Interview with Jeffrey Smith.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://medicinetalk.org/blog/what-you-really-need-to-know-about-gmos-interview-with-jeffrey-smith/
  • Non-GMO Shopping Tips. http://action.responsibletechnology.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7044
  • Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GMOs.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.ewg.org/research/shoppers-guide-to-avoiding-gmos
  • Environmental Working Group. “Are You Looking For The “9” When You Buy Produce?” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2009/09/are-you-looking-9-when-you-buy-produce
Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort

Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort

A plant in the mint family, Motherwort gets its name from its ancient use: helping women who had a tendency to “over-mother” and thus experienced more stress, and less joy, in their maternal role. Today, throughout Europe and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s used as a medicinal herb to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. It also helps ease symptoms of menstrual distress, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.

Motherwort can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. Depending on the the type of preparation, it can have a rather bitter taste and an odor some may find unpleasant. However, for many users, it becomes an “acquired taste” and the benefits outweigh any bitterness.

Motherwort has the ability to calm without causing drowsiness, and it has medicinal effects on circulation and heart rate. Because it can thin the blood, this herb should be used carefully and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or natural health practitioner.

In our practice we use Motherwort to address the symptoms of  hyperthyroidism, benign irregular heart beat (racing heart), emotional and mental tensions, anxiety and spasms. It is also effective in addressing the hot flashes and mental tension so commonly occurring in perimenopause.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if motherwort is right for you. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

 

References

  • Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015.) p.191-192. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
  • NatureGate.com “Motherwort.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • NDHealthFacts.com “Leonurus cardiaca.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003. http://www.pdfarchive.info/pdf/H/Ho/Hoffmann_David_-_Medical_herbalism.pdf pp. 501, 502, 509, 514-517.
  • Murray, M. “Hypertension” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 174), 1475-1485.
  • Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. “Plants and the Heart” in National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 100-101.
  • Mars, Bridgitte & Fiedler, Chrystle. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. 2015.), 189.
GMOs in Your Food: The Facts You Need to Know

GMOs in Your Food: The Facts You Need to Know

Did you know that FDA doesn’t even test genetically modified foods to make sure they’re good for you? According to them, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure their GMO products are safe.

If you’ve paid even a little attention to food industry news, you know there’s huge concern over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in our food supply. It’s estimated that more than half of America’s processed grocery products contain gene-altered ingredients. Since at least the 1990’s we’ve been consuming genetically modified enzymes primarily in breads, cheeses, sodas, and beers. Today, the primary genetically modified (GM) food crops are corn, soybeans, and potatoes.

What does all of this really mean? Is there a real threat to health? Won’t GM crops help us feed a planet with dwindling resources?

It’s easy to get confused by arguments from both sides of the proverbial fence. We hope our basic, 5-point primer on GM foods helps you become a more informed consumer:

GE or GMO: What’s the Difference?

“Genetically Engineered” (GE) and GMO are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Confusion arises because the USDA defines a GMO as an organism produced through any type of genetic modification.

Genetically engineering food is different from the way plant breeders make selections for plant traits between two cultivars. When a plant breeder (organic or conventional) selects a trait like disease resistance found in one plant and uses that trait to enhance another plant, that creates a hybrid. In this case, the plant breeder has encouraged the same kind of selections that might occur in nature. Breeders also monitor the plants for effects on specific characteristics including quality, nutrient density, and productivity. This is the true application of the term “genetically modifying organisms”.

A GE crop is one in which a single gene or combinations of genes from one organism are artificially forced into the DNA of another organism (a crop). Essentially, the natural boundary between two species is broken in order to create a new life form (i.e., foods) with more desirable traits.

For example, to get cold-weather hardy tomatoes, you can splice the DNA from salmon, which has those genetic features and transfer it into the tomato. This yields a larger crop when the weather is less than favorable. What is the problem with it? Tomatoes would never naturally contain those fishy genes.

But far more than fish genes are being spliced into crops. According to Jeffrey Smith, President of the Institute for Responsible Technology, “GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola, have had foreign genes, such as bacteria and viruses forced into their DNA. These have never been in the human food supply.”

Therein lies the problem with food that has been genetically modified outside of nature’s boundaries: The genetics of a plant, not only affect its color, taste, yield and nutrient quality, they likely affect the way that food goes to work in the human body.

In the interest of larger crop yields, profits for big biotech companies, and claims that GM foods will ‘feed the world,’ we have no proof that these foods are safe and no data to indicate the short or long-term effects on human health. And, people are still starving around the world.

“Even if the transgene itself is not dangerous or toxic, it could upset complex biochemical networks and create new bioactive compounds or change the concentrations of those normally present. In addition, the properties in proteins may change in a new chemical environment because they may fold in new ways. Further, the potential toxic or carcinogenic effects could have substantial latency periods.”- The Need for Greater Regulation and Control of Genetic Engineering: A Statement by Scientists Concerned About Trends in the New Biotechnology (1995)

What are the Health Concerns of GMO Food?

GM foods do not undergo regulated testing in the United States. Much of what we know comes from independent scientists conducting animal studies (and the so-called unbiased studies from big biotech). However, scientists and politicians in other countries believe the threat to health is real-GE/GM crop cultivation is now banned by 38 countries worldwide (28 in Europe).

Medical professionals claim there are health effects potentially linked to eating these foods. In her article for the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Martha R. Herbert, a pediatric neurologist wrote: “Today the vast majority of foods in supermarkets contain genetically modified substances whose effects on our health are unknown. As a medical doctor, I can assure you that no one in the medical profession would attempt to perform experiments on human subjects without their consent… Yet manufacturers of genetically altered foods are exposing us to one of the largest uncontrolled experiments in modern history.”

Potential Health Effects:

  • Introduction of new antigens into crops could result in increased rates of allergies and allergy-related health conditions.
  • Bacteria in our guts could pick up antibiotic-resistant genes found in many GM foods that have been spliced with antibiotics.
  • Animal studies indicate GM foods may cause toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, pancreas or reproductive system.
  • Animal studies show that DNA from the food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.
  • The risks to children and fetuses may be greater because their digestive and neurological systems are not fully developed.

 

Why are food genetics being manipulated?

There are two primary traits that have been added to crops: herbicide tolerance, which lets the farmer spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it, and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These outcomes have no proven health benefit to humans, There is, however, economic benefit for biotech companies like Monsanto, which develops (and owns the patent to) the weed-killer that farmers use on crops and we use in gardens (e.g., Roundup aka glyphosate). The company has been accused of everything from hiding research on the real health effects of glyphosate used on crops around the world to knowingly producing products that threaten biodiversity and cause cancer.

To date, six bio-tech giants are actively lobbying against the U.S. public’s demand for GMO labeling on foods. And yet, legislators continue to protect citizens as demonstrated by California’s recent decision requiring Monsanto to label Roundup as carcinogenic.

 

Stay Informed!

Resources for learning more about GMOs, Monsanto, and health implications are listed below.

 

References

  • Endelman, R. “The Difference between GE and GMO.” Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://thedelicioustruth.blogspot.com/2012/03/difference-between-terms-ge-and-gmo.html
  • Herbert, Martha. “Feasting on the Unknown: Being Exposed To One Of The Largest Uncontrolled Experiments In History.” Chicago Tribune (Sep 3, 2000). http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-09-03/news/0009030374_1_genetically-modified-new-proteins
  • Institute of Functional Medicine online. “Genetically Modified Foods 20 Years On: Still No Labeling and Minimal Safety Testing.” https://www.functionalmedicine.org/home/Focus_On/Genetically_Modified_Foods/
  • Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia (1995) p.18. Quoted in “Why the Genetic Engineering of Our Food Offends Principles of Most Religions.” In reference to the quote form A Statement by Scientists Concerned About Trends in the New Biotechnology, As cited at PBS.org “Should we Grow GM Crops?” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/exist/arguments.html
  • SustainablePulse. “GM Crops Now Banned in 38 Countries Worldwide.” Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/10/22/gm-crops-now-banned-in-36-countries-worldwide-sustainable-pulse-research/#.Vq-sA8cwfL8
  • InstituteforResponsibleTechnology.org. “Health Risks of GMO Foods.” Accessed on Feb 7, 2016. http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education/health-risks/
  • Artemis, D. & Arvanitoyannis, I. “Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods.” Crit Rev Health Sci & Nutrition. (2002) 49:2, 164-175. DOI:10.1080/10408390701855993. Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390701855993
  • PBS.org. “Genetically Modified Foods.” Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://www.pbs.org/pov/hybrid/genetically-modified-foods/
  • Medicine Talk Blog. “What You Really Need to Know About GMOs: Interview with Jeffrey Smith.” http://medicinetalk.org/blog/what-you-really-need-to-know-about-gmos-interview-with-jeffrey-smi th/
  • Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GMO Food.” Accessed on Feb 2, 2016. http://www.ewg.org/research/shoppers-guide-to-avoiding-gmos
  • GMO Free-Europe. Map of GMO-free Regions Worldwide. Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions.html
  • Food Matters. “6 Easy Ways to Avoid GMO Products.” Accessed on Feb 8, 2016. http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/6-easy-ways-to-avoid-gmos