The holidays are around the corner. This means that you will be tempted with all kinds of unhealthy treats and comfort foods that may lead to gut inflammation. The good news is that it is possible to eat delicious food while following a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and gut-protecting diet rich in gut-nourishing foods.
Your gut health matters. A healthy microbiome and well-functioning gut are absolutely essential for optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients, elimination of toxins, and your overall health. A compromised gut flora may lead to leaky gut syndrome, an underlying cause of many digestive issues and other health complaints, including chronic pain, fatigue, and autoimmune diseases.
Take control of your health and nourish your body with gut-friendly foods that promote well-being. Learn about the best gut-health foods and incorporate them into your diet today.
10 Gut-Nourishing Foods
Sauerkrauts mean sour white cabbage in German. They are incredibly common in Germany, my motherland, Russia, and other parts of Eastern-Europe. They are fermented cabbage that serves as fantastic gut-health food. Sauerkrauts are not only rich in fiber but provide they are loaded with good bacteria. They help a healthy gut microbiome balance, promote smooth digestion, and help to prevent the leaky gut syndrome.
You can find sauerkrauts at your local health food stores, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. You may even make it yourself. I recommend that you also try another powerful gut-friendly food, kimchi, a Korean version of sauerkrauts.
I like to get sauerkrauts in the local store, like Zabar or Fairway, sprinkle it with high-quality olive oil, shred some fresh carrots, chop some red onion and sprinkle with fennel. Takes 5 minutes to prepare and what a great salad to increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables! Bon Appetit!
Speaking of fermented foods, yogurt is another fantastic gut-nourishing food. It is made with fermented milk and is incredibly rich in probiotics. It helps to balance your gut flora, reduce digestive distress, and prevent leaky gut syndrome. If you like yogurt, I also recommend it’s close cousin, kefir, another gut-health food made with fermented milk with similar gut health benefits.
You may find yogurt and kefir at any grocery store. Make sure to buy organic and avoid added sugar and artificial ingredients. If you are intolerant to dairy or avoid dairy for other reasons, you may find dairy-free yogurt and kefir options made from coconut milk or nut milk. These dairy-free options are also fantastic gut-friendly foods. Trader Joy sells delicious cashew nuts kefir, it is delicious and what a great alternative to dairy!
You may remember waving dandelion crowns as a kid. As an adult, you can use green leaves as a gut-health food that grows everywhere in the spring. Yes, the dandelions in your backyard are gut-nourishing free food. Dandelion greens may help to improve gastric motility relaxing the muscles between your stomach and small intestines. It is a powerful cholegogic (stimulates bile production and drainage). As a result, this ubiquitous plant will improve your digestion and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Dandelions may reduce inflammation balance your blood sugar, and lower blood pressure.
Dandelions are versatile and nutritious. You can eat their stems, roots, and flowers. They serve as a beautiful garnish on your salads and dishes and make gut-nourishing tea.
Recipe: Saute green leaves of dandelion in olive oil with onion and garlic. What a great garnish! Remember, more bitter is better for your digestion!
When you think of asparagus, the first thing that comes to mind is that they make your pee smell funny. While it’s true, asparagus is excellent gut-friendly food. Asparagus is a gut-nourishing food that may reduce inflammation, pain, and disease in your gut and body. It may improve nutrient absorption. Asparagus is a fantastic prebiotic food that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut and prevent intestinal dysbiosis.
You may enjoy asparagus steamed, grilled, roasted, sauteed, and baked. It makes an excellent side dish and is fantastic in soups, salads, and baked vegetable dishes.
Don’t confuse Jerusalem artichokes with globe artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are actually related to sunflowers. They are delicious tubers that are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in fiber and promote the absorption of nutrients. They may help to keep your microbiome balanced and gut inflammation levels low. Jerusalem artichokes may also prevent diarrhea, constipation, and leaky gut syndrome.
You may find Jerusalem artichokes in the produce aisle and try them instead of potatoes next time. You may steam, boil, bake, or saute them, or even eat them raw (shredded) in a salad.
Onions are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in prebiotics that supports your healthy digestion. They also contain flavonoids and antioxidants, including quercetin that fight free-radical damage. Besides boosting your gut health, they are beneficial for your immune system and heart health.
You may enjoy onions raw or cooked. They add a delicious flavor to most soups, salads, stir-fries, baked vegetables, and other main dishes.
When talking about the best gut-nourishing foods, you cannot forget about garlic. As fantastic prebiotics, they have similar benefits as onions do. They are rich in manganese, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. It has a significant antibacterial effect and also works against parasites and fungi, like candida. I use garlic in tablets (Garlic Forte by MediHerbs) as part of the gut flora restoration protocol. If you choose to do raw garlic, then one clove twice a day will give you close to a therapeutic dose.
Garlic is the most nourishing when eaten raw, however, you can enjoy its gut-health food properties when it’s cooked as well. If you choose to cook garlic, first crush or chop it and allow it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes to activate its beneficial gut-healthy enzymes before cooking. You may add garlic to your soups, salads, and favorite dishes.
Seaweed is also referred to as a sea vegetable. It is a form of algae that I recommend you to try as a gut-nourishing food. Seaweed is incredibly rich in antioxidants and fiber. It may help gut flora balance, promote gut health, and aid digestion. Seaweed is full of polysaccharides that help the production of short-chain fatty acids that protect and feeds your gut cell lining.
Add seaweed flakes to your salads and meals. Try nori snack as a crunchy treat. Be adventurous and enjoy a seaweed salad.
Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that is also powerful gut-nourishing food. They are rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps your digestive system by breaking down protein from large food molecules into smaller, more digestible peptides. Bromelain in pineapples, if eaten on an empty stomach, also helps to reduce pain and inflammation, including gut inflammation. As a result, it may help to promote a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome.
You can find pineapples at any grocery store or health food store. You can eat it as it is, or as part of a fruit salad, salad, vegetable stir-fry, or pineapple salsa. Make sure to eat it fresh and avoid canned pineapples that are full of added sugar.
Bone broth is one of the best gut nourishing foods. It is a nutritious clear liquid made from brewed bones and connective tissue. It is a fantastic source of collagen, glutamine, and amino acids that may help to reduce gut inflammation, maintain a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome. Besides being a delicious gut-friendly food, bone broth may also support your metabolism, joints, and immune system.
You can make your own bone broth from organic, free-range poultry, pasture-raised beef, and wild-caught fish bones. You may also find organic bone broth at your local health food stores. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may substitute bone broth for a vegetable broth. While vegetable broth doesn’t have collagen, it is still a gut nourishing food. However, bone broth is a high histamine food, so some people may not tolerate it well. If you are one of them please consult with your functional medicine practitioner and get tested.
If you are experiencing digestive troubles or suspect that the root cause of your health issues is your gut health, as a functional medicine practitioner, I am happy to help. Together, we can identify and address the root cause of your health complaints. With the help of a personalized treatment plan along with some gut-nourishing foods, I can help you to repair your body, and regain your health and well-being.
Autoimmune diseases affect nearly 24 million Americans, and thyroid diseases affect about 20 million. Many Americans are dealing with autoimmune thyroid disease. In fact, Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune thyroid condition, is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism.
The scary part is that a high percentage of those with autoimmune thyroid disease are completely unaware of their condition. If you have autoimmune thyroid disease, you don’t want to leave it untreated. Read on to learn more about autoimmune thyroid disease and how functional medicine can help you to treat your condition naturally.
What Is Autoimmune Thyroid Disease?
Your thyroid is shaped just like a butterfly. It’s a small gland located at the base of your neck. It plays an important part in your endocrine system, which produces hormones that are responsible for your metabolism, temperature regulation, heart rate, breathing, and mood.
Autoimmune conditions occur when your immune system attacks your own body, in the case of autoimmune thyroid disease, your thyroid. The most common autoimmune thyroid disease is Hashimoto’s disease, a form of autoimmune hypothyroidism. You may also develop autoimmune hyperthyroidism, such as Graves’ disease.
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune condition characterized by an underactive thyroid.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include:
Muscle aches, stiffness, tenderness, or weakness
Joint pain and stiffness
Unexplained or unexpected weight gain
Pale, dry skin
Increased sensitivity to cold
Prolonged menstrual bleeding
Early diagnosis and treatment of Hashimoto’s disease are crucial. Untreated Hashimoto’s disease may lead to a variety of health complications including goiters, heart problems, mental health issues, myxedema, and birth defects.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition characterized by an overactive thyroid.
Symptoms of Graves’ disease include:
Anxiety and irritability
Unexplained or unexpected weight loss, despite eating enough
Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
Increase in perspiration
Warm or moist skin and increased body temperature
Frequent bowel movement
Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
Thick, red skin on the top of the feet or shins (Graves’ dermopathy)
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Thinning or brittle hair
It is important to diagnose and treat Graves’ disease early on. Untreated Graves’ disease may lead to a variety of health complications including heart problems; increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure; eye problems; brittle bones; red and swollen skin and thyrotoxic shock.
Diagnosis of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Conventional, functional, and integrative doctors use similar tools for autoimmune thyroid disease diagnosis. You can expect a physical exam, a complete medical history and an analysis of your symptoms. Your doctor will also order some blood tests.
Many conventional doctors only check for your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level and inactive thyroid hormone (T4) level. However, in order to gain a full understanding of your thyroid health, most integrative medicine and functional medicine doctors find it important to get a complete panel. They check your TSH, free T4, free T3, and reverse T3 levels, as well as certain antibodies to understand the full picture.
What Conventional Doctors Don’t Understand About Autoimmune Thyroid Disease Treatment
Conventional doctors tend to look at your symptoms only, instead of looking at you from a holistic perspective, as a person affected by their diet, lifestyle, and environment. They miss digging deeper for the root cause of your issue and risk factors that may lead to autoimmune thyroid disease. The question of “WHY?” you developed autoimmune thyroid conditions most often remains unanswered.
Risk Factors of Thyroid Disease:
Stress: Cortisol, the stress hormone, may also interfere with thyroid hormone production leading to all kinds of imbalance in your body.
Leaky Gut: If you have increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut syndrome”, your gut wall allows undigested food particles to escape into your bloodstream leading to chronic inflammation, a compromised immune system, and potential autoimmune disease.
Toxins: An exposure to harmful chemicals—in particular, the ones used in plastic may cause thyroid issues. Heavy metals is another big risk factor.
Infections: Mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), mumps and the flu virus have all been linked to thyroid problems. These viruses can stay dormant in your body for years then flare up when you are under great stress.
Food sensitivities and inflammatory foods: Inflammatory foods and foods that you are sensitive to may lead to further inflammation and disease in your body. Gluten sensitivity, for example, may lead to the overproduction of antibodies, which may end up attacking your own body, including your thyroid gland.
Autoimmune conditions: If you already have another autoimmune condition, then you are 10 times more likely to develop another one, including autoimmune thyroid disease.
Understanding these risk factors is incredibly important when it comes to autoimmune thyroid treatment. Unlike functional medicine doctors and integrative medicine doctors, conventional practitioners don’t take dietary and lifestyle factors into account when it comes to autoimmune thyroid disease treatment.
The conventional treatment of autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease, usually involves surgery and/or medication. Thyroid medications with synthetic thyroid hormones are one of the top sellers that patients usually stay on for life.
The problem is that these drugs don’t address the root cause of the problem and may lead to side effects and other health problems in the long run. Functional medicine doctors, on the other hand, have a different approach. Your functional medicine doctor will spend time with you to listen and understand why you may have developed an autoimmune thyroid condition. Instead of simply relying on thyroid medication or surgery, they look for the root cause of your autoimmune thyroid disease and offer natural treatment.
Functional Medicine Approach to Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
You will be happy to learn that you may be able to treat autoimmune thyroid disease naturally by following a functional medicine approach. This means addressing the root cause of your issues and following some dietary and lifestyle strategies.
Experiencing a lot of stress, sleeping very little, and eating junk food seems to be the norm in today’s fast-paced world. The problem is that such a lifestyle leads to inflammation and health issues, including autoimmune thyroid disease.
The functional medicine approach to autoimmune thyroid treatment requires dietary changes, adopting some lifestyle strategies, and appropriate supplementation to support your body. Visiting a functional medicine doctor is the first step for identifying the root cause of your autoimmune thyroid disease. Your functional medicine doctor can create an autoimmune thyroid treatment protocol that’s right for you.
Functional Medicine Strategies for Improving Your Thyroid Function
Take a look at some of the main functional medicine strategies for improving your thyroid function.
Repair Your Gut
Support your gut with a fiber-rich and nutrient-dense diet. Eat plenty of probiotic-rich foods, and take probiotic supplements to support your gut flora. Visit a functional medicine doctor to identify problems that may be compromising your gut health.
Clean Up Your Diet
Remove inflammatory foods, such as refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, processed foods, unhealthy fats, gluten, conventional dairy, and any foods to which you may be sensitive. Instead, eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as greens, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and clean protein.
Our modern world is full of toxins that create inflammation and disease in your body. Minimize toxic exposure by using organic and natural cleaning and body products, reducing the use of plastics, avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke and spending time in nature.
There may be infections lying dormant in your body ready to activate an autoimmune thyroid condition under stressful circumstances. It is important that you work with a functional medicine doctor to identify your hidden infections and develop a plan to fight them naturally.
Regular exercise supports your immune system and overall well-being. Aim to exercise 20 to 30 minutes five times a week and to move your body regularly. Get up and stretch at work. Go for a walk during lunch. Play outdoors with your kids or pets.
Managing your stress levels is absolutely essential for a healthy immune system. Avoid stress as much as possible. Learn skills that help you to react to stressful situations more effectively. Engage in relaxing activities, including yoga, meditation, journaling, breathwork, and nature walks.
Getting regular quality sleep is essential for your overall well-being. Make sure to sleep 7 to 9 hours a night. Support your sleep cycle by having a regular bedtime. Develop a relaxing night-time routine that works for you to calm your mind and ease your body before bed. Meditation, journaling, light stretching, and a calming cup of tea are great ideas.
Find a Functional Medicine Doctor for Autoimmune Thyroid Treatment
If you suspect or already know that you have autoimmune thyroid disease, it is important that you find a functional medicine practitioner to help you identify the root cause of your condition and prescribe a personalized autoimmune thyroid treatment.
I can help you to address the underlying causes of your autoimmune thyroid condition using a system-oriented approach, engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. As an experienced functional medicine doctor with an integrated expertise of both Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, I can assess all the factors, including diet, lifestyle, stress, toxicity, allergies, sleep habits and medication that may affect your immune system in order to uncover the root cause of your autoimmune thyroid disease and prescribe a personalized and effective plan to improve your thyroid condition, repair your body and regain your health and well-being.
If you would like to get more information about autoimmune thyroid treatment or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.
JUST ONE MORE click along your episodic TV show on Netflix, that means one less hour of sleep, but that’s nothing a cup of coffee won’t fix tomorrow, right? Not quite. Over time, a deficit of deep sleep could mean way more than just a bit of daze—think weight gain, mood disorders, fatigue, increased stress levels, reduced attention span, and declined cognitive performance.
With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. Getting fewer hours for even a couple of nights in a row can have the same effect as staying awake for 24 hours straight. And, over time, the chronic sleep debt can even contribute to illness.
I want to get real with you about the importance of sleep and share
12 simple tips from functional medicine on
How to Get Better Night Sleep:
Set the right temp. Make the room a comfortable temperature for sleep (not too hot or cold). In general, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
Soak the day away. Take a hot bath at night for 20 minutes. You might want to add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the bathwater.
Calm your system. Take a daily dose of Magnesium Lactate before bed, which relaxes the nervous system and muscles. Magnesium supports ion signaling across cell membranes; it supports the body’s natural ongoing activities of bone formation and resorption; it helps facilitate muscle contraction and body’s energy production, which is used by the central nervous, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular systems. Raise your hand if you feel you don’t need it tonight!
Supplement thoughtfully. Other supplements and herbs to get sufficient shuteye include calcium, L-theanine (an amino acid from green tea), Kava Forte by MediHerb and Min–Tran.
Ditch the coffee addiction. Avoid or minimize substances that affect sleep, like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
Unplug. Avoid any stimulating activities for two hours before bed such as watching TV, using the Internet and answering emails.
Set a bedtime (and a rise time). Go to bed (preferably before 10 or 11 p.m.) and wake up at the same time every day.
Sweat it out. Exercise daily for 30 minutes (but not three hours before bed, which can affect sleep).
Designate a role. Keep computers, TVs and work materials out of the room to strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.
Cut the lights. Keep your bedroom very dark or use eyeshades.
REST. Keep it quiet. Block out sound if you have a noisy environment by using earplugs.
Daytime Napping. “No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”—Carrie Snow.
One way to combat the effects of sleep deprivation—and repay some sleep debt—is to incorporate daytime napping into your schedule. The length of the nap and type of sleep you get during that nap help determine its potential health benefits. The table below identifies these benefits.
If you need extra support with sleep issues, feel free to call our office at (212) 696-4325 and schedule a consultation. We provide a full-spectrum functional medicine evaluation by a Certified Functional Medicine practitioner.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affect as many as three million Americans, most of whom are diagnosed before age 35. These chronic, life-long conditions can be treated but not cured, so as a result IBD can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life and may have a high financial load. Up until now, traditional medicine has taken a linear view of treatment options by focusing only on addressing and commonly suppressing symptoms, ignoring the impact of the whole person; their mind, body or lifestyle, causing many patients continuing the struggle.
In contrast, the Functional Medicine approach to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) is the most healing road to optimal health. It focuses on addressing the root cause of the imbalance that is generating the symptoms. To do this, functional medicine doctors rely on many tools and methods, including but not limited to: food plan and balanced nutrition, lifestyle modifications, acupuncture, homeopathy and mindfulness therapy.
Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, urgency, and painful cramping—these are just some of the many difficult symptoms that come along with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can become debilitating if left untreated, but an integrated functional medical approach can help restore the natural balance to a patient’s digestive system. The digestive system is one of the most important and sensitive biological systems in the body, critical to overall health and well-being. Also, we now know that the immune system is very reactive to the environment, so when we look at Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, there is a genetic component in some but the escalation of these diseases worldwide in the last twenty years is not genetically founded, so something about the environment (such as what we are exposed to or consume) plays a fundamental role.
Functional medicine’s approach is like building a house, starting by building a foundation which is a healthy lifestyle, a healthy environment, and a personalized food plan. We need to return to the roots and start to cultivate a healthy inner environment – a strong microbiome that supports the rest of the body. Treating inflammatory diseases of the bowel can be challenging: genes, food, gut microbes and disrupted immune function – all contribute. Functional medicine is really a paradigm shift, progressing from the medications that suppress symptoms or a reactive immune system to addressing the underlying cause of the problem.
In our functional medicine of Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical PC along with Dr.Elena Klimenko, we address the underlying causes of IBD disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It’s really all about approaching these diseases by looking at the wholeness of the patients and identifying the root causes, which may vary for each patient.
There is so much we can do for patients with IBD, which can be done in parallel with conventional medicine. Healing takes time, but the functional medicine approach is the most certain road for optimal health. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.
As an experienced functional medicine expert with an integrated combination of Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, Dr. Elena Klimeko can assess the numerous factors of you that can affect your immune system – potential environmental toxins, lifestyle, stress, diet, medication, allergies, and sleep habits – to uncover the root cause of your IBD diseases. If you would like to get more information or to schedule a consultation, please call her office at 212-696-4325.
Turmeric has a long history of use, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used in India for centuries for a vast array of conditions and illnesses, including as an antiseptic for burns and cuts and as a remedy for digestive distress and respiratory issues. But it’s the ability to significantly reduce inflammation that makes turmeric a superstar among herbs.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is a perennial herb in the Zingiberaceae (or ginger) family. Curcuma is native to South India and grows well in hot and humid climates. It is the rhizomes, or root system, of the plant that is most often used.
Turmeric reaches a height of around three feet. Its roots are yellowish-orange in color and have been used in Asia for thousands of years as both food and medicine. Turmeric is often used in curries in Asian cuisine. And it’s added to mustard, which is what contributes to its yellow color.
Where turmeric is grown locally, the roots are often used fresh like ginger root. The leaves are also sometimes used to wrap and cook food in. Besides Asia, turmeric is popular in the Middle East, and South Africa, where it is often added to white rice giving it a nice golden color.
The main active ingredient in turmeric and that which is responsible for its bright yellow color is called curcumin. Curcumin, along with several other active compounds, is responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?
When you talk about the holistic healing effects of turmeric, and specifically curcumin, you have to begin with its potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic inflammation is an immune response from the body when there is no threat or injury present. It’s a condition that has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and the 80 or so autoimmune diseases that exist.
The problem with chronic inflammation is that it can exist in the body undetected for years. Then not-so-suddenly, you find yourself in a state of serious disease. Think of chronic inflammation as a foundation on which numerous diseases and conditions can build upon.
This 2004 study examined numerous anti-inflammatory compounds and found curcumin to be one of the strongest, most effective anti-inflammatory compounds on the planet.
Numerous studies on mice have found that curcumin is able to reverse mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease, as this neurological disorder is directly related to chronic inflammation.
If you’re thinking that an anti-inflammatory medication is the best course of action, just remember that a powerful herb like turmeric solves issues at the root level ― functional medicine ― while medications simply mask the symptoms.
Since cancer is one of the most studied diseases on the planet, let’s take a look at how one of the most studied medicinal herbs on the planet interacts with cancer cells.
Dr. Mercola goes on to explain how unique this is, as different types of cancer have different types of pathologies, which is why you usually see different types of natural treatments work more effectively for certain types of cancers.
However, this doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to curcumin, as it affects multiple molecular targets, via multiple pathways. According to Dr. Mercola, “Once it gets into a cell, it affects more than 100 different molecular pathways.”
He goes on to say about the anti-cancer effects of curcumin: “Whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in activity of a particular molecular target, or decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity.”
Best of all, unlike modern, allopathic treatments for cancer ― chemotherapy and radiation ― healthy cells are not adversely affected, which better enables your body to fight the disease. Again, another benefit of functional medicine ― allowing the body to heal itself. Curcumin is also available in a pharmaceutical form and could be administered intravenously.
Turmeric benefits also include …
• Improved lung health • Reduced risk of blood clotting • Improved liver function • Reduction in depression symptoms • Cardiovascular protection • Cancer prevention • Improved skin health • Normalization of cholesterol levels • Rheumatoid arthritis relief • Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease • Cystic fibrosis treatment • Treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases
What are the Best Ways to Consume Turmeric?
You probably wouldn’t think you could find so many ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet. But actually, it’s quite easy. You can add turmeric to rice dishes, potatoes, sautéed vegetables, stews, meats and fish dishes and if making homemade chicken soup, it gives the broth a wonderful and natural yellow color.
Natural Health pioneer, Dr. Andrew Weil, in this video talks about some of the health benefits and uses of turmeric and even mentions how little you’ll notice a flavor difference when adding a teaspoon of this magical herb to meals. He also talks a little about ginger, since they’re in the same family of herbs. And speaking of ginger …
One issue with turmeric, and in particular curcumin, is that it’s poorly absorbed by the body. However, you can increase the rate of absorption by combining it with fresh ginger and freshly ground pepper.
Dr. Mercola recommends making a microemulsion to make it more bioavailable — Mix 1 tablespoon of raw turmeric powder with two egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. We presume that you simply eat that concoction when you’re done mixing it.
As always, start out small, and see how your body reacts. Try adding turmeric to meals in smaller amounts until you feel comfortable adding more.
Remember that turmeric is first and foremost an herb, besides being a type of functional medicine, which means you can increase the dosage as needed. If you’re feeling sick, fatigued, or are experiencing muscle or joint pain, get more turmeric into your diet and see how you respond. The holistic healing effects of this special herb may really surprise you.
To say that Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, would be like saying that McDonald’s has sold a few hamburgers over the years. Besides being called the great imitator, it has also been called an “invisible illness” as those who have it can still appear healthy, and so can their bloodwork.
Consider the shocking difference between these two statistics. In 2013, federal health departments reported that there were 27, 203 confirmed cases of Lyme disease. While the CDC that same year reported that there were 300,000 cases of the disease. What may be even more problematic, is that it appears to be on the rise.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. The disease was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975, which is how Lyme disease got its name.
It’s actually a bacterial disease. The corkscrew shape of the bacteria responsible allows them to burrow into body tissues and even cells, where the bacteria can then hide. This is why different parts of the body can be affected and why those who are infected can exhibit a wide range of symptoms.
What Causes Lyme Disease?
Of the four bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease, Borrellia burgdorferi and Borrelliamiyamotoiare the two most common in the U.S., while Borrelliagarinii and Borrelliaafzelii are common in Asia and Europe.
The bacteria enter the body through the bite of a tick. However, according to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the top Lyme disease experts, other blood-sucking insects can also spread the disease.
A tick will usually attach itself to areas of the body where it will go unnoticed, like the scalp, groin, and armpits. It must be attached for around 24 hours before the bacteria are transmitted. And it’s usually the immature ticks that are most responsible, as adult ticks are bigger and easier to notice.
Research shows that within the first 15 minutes, as the tick attaches itself to the host, it injects a salivary content with numbing substances, so we don’t feel the invader as it feeds on our blood for hours. Up to 75 percent of a tick’s salivary secretion has a “soup” of pathogens, including Borrelia and other co-infections.
What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
The biggest problem with Lyme disease is that, for your best chances of a complete recovery, early detection is both critical and difficult.
Common symptoms of Lyme disease mirror those of several other conditions including:
In about half of all Lyme disease cases, the infected person will notice a growing red rash at the site of the bite that can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. The rash isn’t itchy or painful and is usually accompanied by other symptoms that may include:
The longer the disease goes untreated, other signs and symptoms may come and go, such as brain fog, severe fatigue, muscle and joint problems, and an irregular heartbeat. The longer it persists, the more difficult it is to treat. And if left untreated long enough, it can cause problems with many organs and systems in the body, including the heart, digestive system, nervous system, brain, and reproductive system.
Blood tests are the most common method to detect Lyme disease. However, it may take a few weeks after infection for detection to be possible.
The tests are looking to confirm the presence of antibodies to the Lyme-causing bacteria. Antibodies are created by the immune system to combat pathogens, but the body needs a certain amount of time to make them.
The CDC recommends a two-step process when attempting to diagnose Lyme disease. The first test is an enzyme immunosorbent assay which checks for any and all antibodies. If results are positive, the second test – an immunoblot test – will check for two specific antibodies that the body produces due to the presence of the Lyme bacteria.
If both tests are positive, the presence of Lyme disease is a practical certainty. But again, problems persist. Proper results of these testing methods rely on the proper functioning of the body’s white blood cells. So, there is still a chance that tests can be negative and Lyme disease present.
There is some good news, though. A brand-new testing method has been developed that can detect Lyme DNA, rather than the antibodies the body produces to combat the Lyme bacteria. This should allow for detection weeks sooner. And since time is the most critical factor in treating Lyme disease, this early detection is a very positive development.
It should be noted that diagnosing and treating Lyme disease can become quite pricey and that a patient will often see five to seven physicians before the disease is even properly diagnosed.
How to Treat Lyme Disease?
Unfortunately, the conventional treatment for Lyme disease – short courses of antibiotics – is often unsuccessful, particularly if the disease has been present for a longer time. For most patients, symptoms continue, and the disease worsens.
A natural health approach may be the better option, as in a rotation of herbal antimicrobials. The advantages are two-fold. There’s no chance of a resistance developing, the way it might with antibiotics. And there are no adverse side effects, such as the disturbance to your delicate microbiome that antibiotics use can cause.
Renowned natural health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola, recommends taking a functional nutrition approach by using a number of herbs, foods, and other supplements to fight the Lyme infection, including astaxanthin, curcumin, krill oil, probiotics, resveratrol, grapefruit seed extract, and others.
Don’t underestimate the role of diet and functional nutrition when it comes to fighting Lyme disease. Naturopath and author of “The Lyme Diet: Nutritional Strategies for Healing from Lyme Disease”, Dr. Nicola McFadzean, has this to say on the subject:
“The role of nutrition is central not so much in the actual bug-killing, but in the underlying strength and resilience of your health. Immune support, inflammation management, hormone regulation, and detoxification functions can all be vitally influenced by your nutritional intake.”
If you’re concerned that you may have Lyme disease, the first step is to find a functional medicine practitioner who can properly diagnose and treat the disease. Remember that with Lyme disease, time is critical. As is getting the proper treatment.
Call our office and learn about an affordable way to get care from Lyme-literate practitioners certified in integrative medicine and natural therapies with our Access Membership plan. Call today – (212)-696-HEAL(4325).
To most people feeling tired is a result of not getting enough rest. Achy joints or muscles for most will seem as a result of intensive exercises. Symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea can easily be swept under the rug and blamed on a bad meal.
Nevertheless, the above symptoms are only temporary for most people. Getting enough rest and some time to recover, or cleaning up their diet and those people will be back to their normal condition.
However, if you’re suffering from an autoimmune disease when your body is attacking itself, these symptoms are more severe and debilitating. And they could potentially be festering into another autoimmune disease. About 25% of those with autoimmune diseases have a tendency to develop another autoimmune disease causing more complications.
The Epidemic of Autoimmune Diseases
The epidemic of autoimmune diseases is booming in the 21st century. Why is so many people’s immune system is turning on them and attacking healthy tissue? Many doctors and patients point to genetics – saying that you were bound to get it someday. However, genetic predisposition accounts for only 30-50% of autoimmune diseases, while environmental factors account for the rest, 50-70%.
• Gut health
Toxins, unhealthy diets, and stress are everyday factors in the world we live in. These environmental triggers set off an imbalance in your body including hormonal imbalances, gut dysbiosis, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurotransmitter imbalances. These imbalances alter your defense mechanisms leading to more infections and possibly to an autoimmune disease.
Fortunately, you can manage these environmental factors. And possibly you may be able to prevent or even reverse autoimmune diseases and heal your body.
What are Autoimmune Diseases?
There is a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases consisting of about 80 different disorders. These types of autoimmune diseases can affect any part of your body, leaving you with a variety of different symptoms. However, at the core of all autoimmune diseases, there’s a glitch in your immune system, which leads to an attack on your healthy organs and tissues.
And because of this, a symptom which all autoimmune diseases have in common is some type of inflammation. Whether it be in thyroid, in case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or in the gut, in case of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, or in a central nervous system (neuroinflammation) in multiple sclerosis. Wherever it is, the body is inflamed and under attack.
Our immune system is specifically wired to protect us from foreign invaders including parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses. Due to genetic predisposition and other environmental factors, our immune system may sometimes fail to recognize these foreign invaders. This can lead to a chronic inflammation.
Let’s face it, our immune system is not like our brain or heart where you can point to an exact location or particular parts of the body. Our immune system is an intricate system working with multiple different systems to keep us safe. However, according to a fairly new research, close to 80% of these working systems are related to our gut. That is why gut health has become so important within the autoimmune disease community.
Autoimmune diseases can be tricky to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms affecting multiple parts of the body. Autoimmune symptoms can easily be mistaken for bothersome symptoms that don’t require immediate attention. But those symptoms could just be the canary in the coal mine alerting you of a weakened immune system.
Signs of a Weak Immune System
Since autoimmune symptoms tend to be somewhat vague, the actual disease might not apparent until years later. For that reason, curing autoimmune diseases can be difficult because, by the time you develop autoimmunity, some organs may be already damaged.
So making yourself more aware of possible signs that your immune system might be developing a glitch is important for your overall health. The following are the signs of a weak immune system:
• Joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness
• Recurrent rashes or hives
• Butterfly-shaped rash across nose and cheeks
• Fatigue or insomnia
• Weight loss or weight gain
• Cold or heat intolerance
• Unexplained fever
• Hair loss
• Hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or blood or mucus in stool
• Dry eyes, mouth, or skin
• Harden or thickened skin
• Numbness, pain, or color changes in fingers or toes
If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, talk to your alternative or integrative medicine doctor because you may have an autoimmune disease.
Most Common Autoimmune Diseases
Although there are 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, the most common autoimmune diseases include:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Hashimoto’s disease
• Grave’s disease
• Addison’s disease
• Systemic lupus erythematosus
• Celiac, Chron’s, ulcerative colitis
• Type 1 diabetes
• Sjogren’s syndrome
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
If you have a family history of these diseases and multiple environmental factors, which play a role in autoimmunity chances are higher you can develop an autoimmune disease. But with some work with your doctor, you both can work on an integrative approach for your autoimmune disease.
Integrative Approach to Autoimmune Disease
Talk to your integrative medicine doctor today if you experience any of the above signs of a weak immune system. Alternative medicine treatments are essential in reversing autoimmune diseases and healing your body. Because it’s not only about genetics – environmental factors have the strongest influence on your health.
Identifying environmental triggers such as evaluating for toxins, testing gut health, recognizing stress, and evaluating your diet helps to pinpoint what has set off your autoimmune disease.
Request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko to experience her integrative approach in the healing of autoimmune diseases. This functional medicine doctor uses genetic testing, blood work, advanced stool testing, and many other advanced methods necessary to first uncover the root cause of your disorder, and then heal your body through functional and integrative medicine approaches such as IV therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc. You can also call at (212) 696-4325 to make an appointment with this NYC practice.
When it comes to medicine and treatment in the western world conventional doctors have put themselves and their patients into a bubble. Examining the body in only specific areas can cause traditional doctors to miss the big picture in the disease process.
While conventional medicine is great for treating acute care and trauma it has trouble treating and preventing chronic diseases and persistent, undiagnosed symptoms.
Treatments which work for some might not work with others and this is where integrative medicine comes in. By using non-traditional medicine and natural therapies integrative medicine is also able to incorporate state-of-the-art conventional medical treatments and therapies – the best of both worlds!
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine is a healing-oriented medicine which takes into account your whole person including mind, body, spirit, and community. It includes all aspects of your lifestyle habits and is patient-focused.
With conventional medicine, also known in today’s world as Western medicine, doctors are mainly focused on certain areas of the body. This traditional type of medicine treats the signs and symptoms of disease through medication and/or surgery.
This practice of medicine focuses on the bigger picture and incorporates an alternative approach as well as a conventional approach. This broad approach of integrative medicine aims to treat the full person – not just the signs and symptoms of the disease.
It is now being recognized as a successful approach to addressing the chronic disease epidemic in our nation.
Types of Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine uses individualized treatment plans which best suits your needs and wants. With integrative medicine, it gives you empowerment through your own decision making in your treatment and care plan.
Andrew Weil, MD played a major role in codifying and establishing the emerging field of integrative medicine. His focus on treating and caring for the whole person integrates scientifically-validated therapies of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
The principles of integrative medicine include:
A strong partnership between patient and doctor through your healing process
The appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
The consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease including mind, spirit and community as well as body
A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically
Recognition that good medicine be based in good science
Inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms
The use of natural, less invasive interventions whenever possible
The broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease.
Integrative Medicine Versus Functional Medicine
Integrative medicine and functional medicine have similarities which overlap each other, but they also have distinct differences in their approach to treatment and care for the patient. Both integrative and functional medicine focus on your whole body rather than just the signs and symptoms of certain diseases.
While integrative medicine is a holistic medicine approach with patient-centered care, it does take into account conventional health care practices to diagnose and treat patients. Integrative medicine looks at your overall health including mind, body, and soul to promote healing and wellbeing.
With functional medicine, it also focuses on your overall health with the patient as its core focal point. But functional medicine incorporates a system-oriented medical approach which aims to identify the underlying root cause of a disease. For this reason, functional medicine will conduct genetic and environmental research on patients to understand the root cause of your disease. And functional medicine does not use traditional medicine therapies with its approach.
These types of approaches can help prevent and reverse many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases through non-traditional and natural treatment. Integrative medicine and functional medicine are both at the forefront of healthcare of the 21st century.
What Are the Benefits of Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine offers a wide-range of benefits with its approach to medical conditions. The following are some of the benefits you can experience with integrative medicine:
Preventing and reversing chronic diseases
Saving money on long-term health expenses
Feeling empowerment through personal autonomy of care
Treating the whole-self not just the signs and symptoms
Receiving respectable care based on your values, beliefs, and preferences
Having the choice between more therapeutic options
Integrative Medicine Doctors in New York
Integrative medicine dives deeper than just the surface of conventional medicine. With the healthcare crisis we are dealing with in our economy today, integrative medicine is aimed to prevent disease and illness. I do this through integrative strategies which help you foster the development of healthy lifestyle habits to use throughout your life.
It also helps my patients get back to the basics of their health through alternative therapies while also having the ability to use conventional therapy when needed.
Through integrative medicine’s mind-body-spirit community philosophy you aren’t just another number to me as with traditional doctors – your personalized care is what I value.
I have over 15 years of experience in integrative and functional medicine. My main focus is helping you achieve health and wellness while working with your personal needs, values, and beliefs. If you’re looking for an integrative medicine doctor in the New York City area request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko or call (212) 696-4325.
I have specialized experience and expertise in complex and chronic conditions include:
Yes. Coconut Oil Is Still Good for You. Here Are 4 Studies That Suggest Why.
You’ve probably seen the coconut oil articles spreading around social media. With headlines like “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy” and “Coconut oil is out” it’s no wonder people are confused.
These articles were spurred by an American Heart Association (AHA) report that revisited their dietary guidelines on fat and cholesterol. Overall, they didn’t really say anything new since they’ve been incorrectly blaming saturated fats for cardiovascular disease (CVD) for decades.
But in this AHA report, they emphasized the use of polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats. And what shocked the health and wellness industry further, is that they recommended dangerous, inflammatory vegetable oils over coconut oil.
I want to take a moment and set the record straight about some of the key points in the article.
Coconut oil IS high in saturated fat – One of the reasons the AHA recommended against using coconut oil is because of the high saturated fat content. Coconut oil is 82% saturated fat. As with nearly all foods, you should eat coconut oil in moderation. MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) Oil, are a component of coconut oil and are also beneficial to your health.
The report does recommend that 6 percent of your diet come saturated fats, which would be about two tablespoons of coconut oil. That’s a good amount of fat and coconut oil.
Saturated fat does NOT cause cardiovascular disease, SUGAR DOES – The idea that cardiovascular disease is caused by saturated fat clogging the arteries is an incorrect concept that began in the 1950’s and has somehow stuck around. This notion causes the entire food industry to switch to “Fat- Free” and consequently increase sugar content in foods. The results are obvious — cardiovascular disease rate keeps climbing up and the rate of obesity increased dramatically since the implementation of the “Fat-Free” frenzy.
LDL cholesterol is not the only factor in cardiovascular disease risk – The reasoning the AHA had against recommending coconut oil was that it increases your LDL cholesterol, “a known cause of CVD.”
They then said that coconut oil had “no known offsetting favorable effects.” This isn’t true. Coconut oil raises your HDL cholesterol levels, which studies have shown reduces CVD risk. More importantly, your LDL to HDL ratio is a better indicator when examining your risk for CVD than LDL alone.
Vegetable oils are terrible for you – Vegetable oils are inflammatory, contain pesticides, are mostly GMO, and are unstable.
Polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils are packed with omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory. While you do need some omega-6s, many Americans eat up to 50 times more omega-6s than they should and vegetable oils found in processed foods and fast food restaurants are one of the major culprits.
Vegetable oils are also bad for you because they break down readily under heat when cooking. Polyunsaturated fats are easily oxidized when heated meaning they will react with free radicals in the body and can cause cell membrane and DNA damage.
Now that we understand where a lot of the confusion surrounding this report came from, let’s take a look at the ways coconut oil is good for you. And remember, as with most things in life – moderation is key.
4 Studies That Suggest Coconut Oil is Good for You
Studies on coconut oil are typically relatively small and require a little interpretation and gentle extrapolation for the purpose of making your own decision on whether or not you’ll incorporate coconut oil into your diet. Overall coconut oil is a safe food that should be experimented with to find if it’s best for you.
Both groups consumed about two tablespoons of their respective oils each day, walked 50 minutes, and followed similar low-calorie diets.
While both groups lost about two pounds, the coconut oil group had an increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol and a decrease in C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker). The soybean oil group experienced an increase in the “bad” LDL cholesterol, a decrease in HDL cholesterol, and a decrease in the C-reactive protein.
What this means for you: Try switching out any vegetable oils you use for coconut oil and note the changes. Adding coconut oil to your diet could be especially helpful if you are overweight or struggling to keep inflammation down.
2. Simply adding coconut oil to your diet (with no other changes) may increase weight loss
A study of 20 overweight men and women consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil each day for four weeks without changing anything else about their diet or exercise routines. The men lost an average of 1.2 pounds and 1 inch off their waist and the women lost an average of 0.5 pounds and 1.2 inches off their waist.
While a study of twenty people isn’t large enough to determine direct cause and effect, it does suggest this is a simple and safe experiment you can try. Just watch your sugars and carbs while doing that.
What this means for you: Why not do this yourself? Try adding two tablespoons of coconut oil to your diet each day for four weeks without changing anything else and see what happens. You may find coconut oil to be beneficial to you.
3. Coconut oil is great for natural dental hygiene
Coconut pulling is an age-old Ayurvedic technique thought to help fight plaque-forming bacteria in your saliva. A study of 60 people swished with either coconut oil or chlorhexidine mouthwash and their bacteria levels were measured before and after. Both mouth rinses significantly reduced the Streptococcus mutans bacteria.
Because there was no difference between the two washes and chlorhexidine is a disinfectant – coconut oil is a great natural replacement.
What this means for you: Add coconut pulling to your dental hygiene routines for a natural method that promotes good teeth health.
4. Coconut based, high saturated fat diet may improve LDL/HDL ratios in women
A study that had 25 women compare three diets (one high in coconut oil, one low in coconut oil, and one high in polyunsaturated fats) revealed that the best of the three diets for having the healthiest LDL/HDL ratio was the high saturated fat, coconut oil diet.
What this means for you: Again, a study of 25 women is not enough to be conclusive but it does suggest that it might be a good idea for you to see how coconut oil impacts your personal health, especially if you are struggling to maintain a good LDL to HDL ratio.
The Importance of Interpreting Data for Yourself
Beyond the irresponsible and misleading arguments regarding the cause of cardiovascular disease and the strange attack on coconut oil, the AHA is recommending polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which is downright dangerous.
A big concern is that the – American Heart Association – packs authority. And they’ve published a poorly researched, grossly misguiding report. One that’s being repeated across mainstream news outlets across the country.
It seems surprising that the AHA would recommend vegetable oils so freely when there are mountains of data to suggest that it’s bad for your health. But then at the bottom of the report, you can see that some of the funding for the AHA and the report come from The Canola Oil Council. That’s concerning.
I encourage you to take information such as the AHA reports and keep a critical eye. Our bodies are fundamentally similar but also unique in how we metabolize and respond to environmental inputs.
Determine through careful personal experimentation whether or not adding coconut oil to your diet is good for you. Listening to your body and noting reactions is one of the best ways you can make the shift from treating symptoms and illnesses to encouraging optimal health.
Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses herbal and food-based supplements to help patients address the root cause of their medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).
If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr. Klimenko’s E-book.