Eating anti-inflammatory foods may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, in Elk Grove Village shared that the famous Greek physician Hippocrates is believed to have said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”This suggests that both the treatment of and probably the prevention of illnesses can be found in the quality and quantity of food we eat. Recent medical research has suggested a strong link between the autoimmune illness rheumatoid arthritis and our food choices.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune illness where the immune system begins to attack different parts of the body. RA most commonly destroys the joints, especially on the hand and fingers.

This illness can also be life-threatening as the immune system attacks the lungs and heart. The signs and symptoms of RA most frequently appear in middle age. RA is about three times more prevalent in women than men women. It is currently estimated that RA has been diagnosed in about 3 million Americans and accounts for almost 40,000 deaths annually.

Therapy for RA consists of strengthening and range of motion exercises for the hands and fingers, as well as very potent medications to suppress the immune system.

The downside to RA treatment is that it does not change the underlying illness and with a suppressed immune system, a person is more prone to serious viral and bacterial infections.

Recent medical studies have strongly suggested that there is a link between diet and both the risk of developing, as well as progression of symptoms of RA. One recent study, published in the medical journal Clinical Nutrition followed over 400 participants with RA over a six-year period. Half of the participants maintained the Mediterranean diet which is high in monounsaturated fats (olive oil). The other half acted as a control and ate their normal diet that was rich in saturated fats (butter). Read more

MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!

Cindy Maloney, R.N, B.A, PEL-CSN, Certified School Nurse at Glenbard North High School, shared this Wellness Tip:

Color your plate! A good variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure nutritional quality. The colors to include regularly are: dark green (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans), yellow/orange (sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe), red (Cherries, strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes) and blue/purple (blue berries, purple grapes, eggplant, plums). Each of these colors contributes a unique health-promoting phytonutrient to you diet. Enjoy!

 

Source: Lynn Dugan, Registered Dietitian – check out Lynn’s web site for great recipes and more nutrition tips http://www.myplate2yours.com/ 

How you can become a Morning Person


“Do you set multiple alarms, press snooze, and hope you’ll wake up on time, just to be half asleep?  Well if you do, you’re not alone! So many of us struggle with getting up and being alert in the morning. But don’t worry, you can break the habit with just a few of these tips!”

Nighttime Prep – Don’t you just hate scrambling to get ready? The mornings where I’m rushing and looking for clothes to wear, breakfast to make, etc., it takes me a while to calm back down and get focused for the day. Preparing the night before, choosing an outfit, making your lunch, packing your bag, can help make your mornings run smoothly. Who knows, you may even get to sleep in a few minutes or enjoy a cup of coffee with the extra time you save by being prepared ahead of time.

Use this link to download the graphic: leesa_morning_person_x2_v3.jpg

Set a Bedtime – Sending yourself to bed at a decent hour is a great way to set yourself up for a productive morning. It might seem like an obvious tip, but setting a bedtime and sticking to it is harder than you think with distractions, like technology. So put down the cellphone and try going to bed a half hour earlier each night. This will help your body create a better sleep pattern and eventually you’ll reach your ideal bedtime.

Read more

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free: What Do They Really Mean?

Sandy Getzky, is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus and is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.  She was very gracious and wrote the following article especially for the Healthy Lombard blog:

Not all diets can get you the results that you need. Many fad diets that can be quickly completed only offer short-term results because you go back to eating normally after the diet period. If you’re aiming for a long-term solution, consider diets that offer permanent changes to your eating habits.

Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten-free, for example, are all diets that can change your lifestyle, even more so, if you follow them religiously. Many people adapt these lifestyles because of the nutritional benefits, such as getting more antioxidants and vitamins, that can boost your immune system. These can help reduce the risk of health complications such as diabetes, fungal infection, and arthritis.

Just like any major change in your life, proper planning and accurate information can help you reach your goal more efficiently. Consulting an expert is always a great first step – especially if you already have allergies or dietary restrictions. If you want to try a diet that entails a big lifestyle change, then read on to find out exactly what you may be getting into.

Veganism, A Way Of life

A Vegan diet means that all animal-derived ingredients are excluded from your meals. Yes, this includes meat, egg, and dairy products. Instead, a normal vegan diet usually includes dishes that have grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Popular food, such as ice cream, cheese, and hot dogs, have their own vegan versions that usually involve the use of soy milk and tofu.

In a vegan diet, you need to correctly plan out all of your meals otherwise you might be missing key nutrients such as protein, omega-3, calcium, and vitamin B12. More often than not, people who rush going through a vegan diet replace animal products with junk food, such as white bread and pasta, that have little nutritional value. Also, carefully read the labels of soy-based products to ensure that they are not laden with sodium and preservatives. Some complications arising from a poorly executed vegan diet include skin disease, tooth cavity, anxiety, and exhaustion.

While it is possible to get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, it is difficult to put into practice – often requiring lots of knowledge and discipline. If you are planning to start this diet, it is best to do it slowly while consulting a professional. Read more

Benefits and Uses of Lavender Essential Oil

The use of essential oils for health and wellness is a practice that is becoming more and more common in homes all over the world. However, every essential oil has its own unique properties, so it’s important to learn what each can do.

This article, provided by Allen Wei from Lean To Relax shares  21 of the best uses and benefits specific to your mental health, skin care, hair, stomach, and more.

Mental Health

1. Get Better Sleep for More Energy in the Daytime

Lavender has been used for hundreds of years as a way to treat insomnia, restless leg syn-drome, and other sleep-related problems.

In the past, people would dry up lavender leaves and put them under their pillows. The scent given off was said to promote relaxation by inducing alpha waves in the brain.

Science-Based Research

A study was published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand which investi-gated the effects of lavender oil on mood, the central nervous system, and the autonomic nervous sys-tem.

The results showed that the lavender oil caused a decrease in blood pres-sure, skin tempera-ture, and heart rate, along with an increase in the power of alpha and theta brain activities.

How to use it?

In order to create your own lavender sleep aid, you can mix five or six drops of lavender essen-tial oil with a half cup of distilled water.

Add in one teaspoon of witch hazel and put it all into a spray bottle. Before bed, spritz your pillow case and linens with the lavender oil mixture.

You can also fill an oil diffuser with a few drops of the oil and set it by your bed.


2. Relieve Headaches

Lavender oil can be used to soothe and prevent headaches. Whether you suffer from mi-graines or other headache types such as gastric, nervous, general, sinus, or tension, this oil may be able to provide relief.

Science-Based Research

Researchers at the Mashhad University of Medical Science Department of Neurology per-formed a study on the efficacy of lavender oil inhalation in treating migraines.

The results showed 71% of those who inhaled lavender oil had symptoms improve partially or in full, while only 47% of the paraffin group reported improvements.

They concluded that inhaling lavender can be effec-tive in the acute management of migraine headaches.

How to use it?

There are a few different ways that you can use lavender oil in order to gain the benefits it has to offer for headaches.

One way is by getting an oil diffuser and running your lavender essential oil through it inside your home or office. Add four to five drops.

Another method is taking two to three drops of the oil and directly rubbing it in on the areas of your head that are feeling pain.


3. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Lavender is calming, anti-convulsive, and a sedative that is used to reduce anxiety and depres-sive feelings.

For patients suffering from severe anxiety, lavender aromas can be used to aid in reprogramming the mind following a panic or acute attack.

With regular use, the relief process can start with the calming memories that surround the scent of lavender.

Science-Based Research

Forty-two college women studying in a nursing program at Keukdong College had reported is-sues with insomnia and depression.

They were entered into a study to determine if lavender scents would have an effect on their mental health conditions.

The results showed that lavender oil is beneficial for insomnia and depression in female college students.

How to use it?

One way to use lavender essential oils to reduce anxiety and depression is through hand massage. The scent can be mixed in with lotion and gently rubbed onto the surface of the skin.

For those that are suffering from panic or anxiety attacks, simply open up the bottle of oil and inhale the scent. Putting a few drops in a constantly running oil diffuser in your home is never a bad idea either as a preventative measure.


4. Reduce Agitation in Dementia

Lavender scents have been proven to create a relaxing, positive, and stable mood for those that use it.

People that suffer from dementia will frequently become confused which causes irritation and agitation. With the properties that lavender oil has, the ability to reduce these undesirable feelings is possible.

Science-Based Research

There have been a plethora of controlled clinical studies performed to evaluate the effec-tiveness of lavender oil in patients with dementia.

The goal being to determine if there are any changes in the participant’s moods, agitation, alertness, likelihood to wander, and other side effects related to the disease.

In one such study, lavender geranium and other essential oils were applied directly to the skin of 39 patients for an unspecified amount of time.

At the conclusion of the study, it was recorded that these individuals were more alert, less agitated, and they slept better at night. It was determined that lavender does have a positive effect on the mood of dementia patients, but further research is required.

How to use it?

For people that have been diagnosed with dementia, place an oil diffuser in their room with lav-ender oil.

This is an effective way for them to inhale the scent without someone having to ex-plain to them what they are doing and potentially confusing them even more.

Dementia patients that allow hand massages can also benefit from a few drops in their favorite lotion before appli-cation.

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Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Acupuncturists Jenn McGrath shared that i is estimated that 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes.

It is important to get a diagnosis as soon as you suspect that diabetes may be a problem for you, as untreated diabetes affects the whole body and can lead to other medical problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, digestive disorders and periodontal disease. In order to manage diabetes, it is essential to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise and other areas. Another important factor when treating diabetes is creating a support team of health care professionals, including a licensed acupuncturist.

Diabetes According to Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years. According to Oriental medicine, diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems. This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi, causing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive eating, slow healing of cuts and wounds, infections, irritability, tingling or numbness in the extremities and blurry vision.

Offering a holistic approach, acupuncture and Oriental medicine provide a treatment plan specifically tailored to each individual to relieve symptoms associated with diabetes. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist the body return to a healthy functioning state. In addition to acupuncture, a variety of techniques may be used during treatment, including bodywork, lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations, exercises or herbal medicine.

No Drugs for Back Pain, New Guidelines Say

SUMATHI REDDY shared in the Wall Street Journal that the American College of Physicians says to use natural and alternative therapies first.

Lower back pain—one of the most common reasons for a doctor’s visit—is best treated with alternative, natural and psychological therapies, say new guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

Opioids—one of the most commonly prescribed medications for pain relief and a source of increasing addiction and death—should only be considered for chronic back pain when other alternatives—natural and prescription—don’t work, say the guidelines published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Even acetaminophen, which includes the brand name Tylenol, is no longer recommended for acute lower back pain relief due to a 2014 study in the journal The Lancet that showed it was no more effective than placebo. “For consumers who need to treat their minor aches and pains due to backache, Tylenol is a short-term treatment option when used as directed,” said a spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson Consumer, which manufacturers Tylenol.

The new guidelines could influence how doctors treat patients with complaints of back pain. They are an update from 2007’s and include a review of more than 150 studies. Recommendations were broken down into acute and subacute lower back pain, which is pain lasting less than 12 weeks, and chronic pain, which is pain lasting more than 12 weeks. They don’t apply to radicular low back pain, sometimes referred to as sciatica, which is caused by compression of the nerves in the spine and can result in leg pain. Read more

“Food for Thought”

College of DuPage Nursing student Bertie Schlossberg asks, “Do you or someone you know have a food allergy or intolerance?” If you answered yes, you might want to keep reading.

Per the Food and Allergy Research and Education network (FARE), 1 in every 13 children in the USA underage 18 have food allergies. Although less common in adults. Food allergies affect nearly 15 million people a year (healthykids.org). Below I have included some easy recipes …whether you are just starting out on your new diet or you are a seasoned pro you are sure to enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment or share your favorite allergy friendly recipe.

Gluten Free (www.melissassouthernstylekitchen.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-lasagna/)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-cup-Lasagna

Ingredients you’ll need:
2  [8 oz] softened cream cheese [16 ounces total]
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 [14 oz] box chocolate graham crackers gluten free
1 [12 oz] bag miniature peanut butter cups
3/4 cup cocktail peanuts [sea salted peanuts or plain salted peanuts]
Chocolate drizzle:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Topping:
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To prepare the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together in the microwave until smooth. Melt in 15 second increments stopping to stir periodically. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a medium mixing bowl, whip together both blocks of softened cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Whip for 2-3 minutes until fully combined and smooth. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Add 16 ounces of thawed whipped topping, 8 ounces at a time. Continue to whip until fluffy and light. The filling will be divided into thirds to layer the dessert.
  5. Remove the wrappers from the peanut butter cups and chop. Roughly chop the peanuts. Divide both into thirds for layering. In a 9 x 13 inch dish start with one layer of graham crackers.
  6. Add ⅓ of the filling mixture, sprinkle with ⅓ of the chopped peanut butter cups and ⅓ of the chopped peanuts.
  7. Gently press the next layer of graham crackers into the filling and repeat, ending with the final ⅓ of the peanut butter filling.
  8. Frost with whipped topping, and sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups and peanuts. Drizzle with chocolate.
  9. Chill for at least 4-6 hours before cutting.

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When you eat and how frequently may benefit heart health

What times someone eats during the day and how frequently may play a role in having a healthy weight and heart.According to an American Heart Association scientific statement published Wednesday, eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke.

However, current research doesn’t dictate the best approach.

“There’s conflicting evidence about meal frequency,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., writing group chair and associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City. She said studies have shown the benefit of intermittent fasting and eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day.

Fasting every other day helped people lose weight in the short-term, but its long-term effects haven’t been studied, according to the statement. And there’s no guarantee that such fasting can be sustained.

“I can see scenarios where intermittent fasting can backfire,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a statement co-author and nutrition professor at Penn State University. For example, people who fast one day could eat more than twice as much the next day, she said. She also questioned what would happen if someone who fasted regularly for lengthy periods of time – weeks or even months – then started eating regularly every day.

Because there’s not a lot of information about how people could practice intermittent fasting, Kris-Etherton cautioned against using it as a weight loss or weight management strategy until further information is available.

Eating frequent meals has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors, says St-Onge. One study of men showed that those who ate more than four times a day had a lower risk of obesity than those eating three or fewer times a day. But other studies have found the opposite, with a greater risk of weight gain over time in those reporting eating more frequently. Read more

5 Habits of Happy Relationships

Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Specializing in Health and Wellness located at 9 North Main Street, Suite 11 in Lombard Illinois 60148 recently shared in a Lombard Town Center Newsletter the following very helpful information.

Relationships are a crucial part of who we are and something that most people need in order to feel they’ve lived a fulfilled life. Although relationships are common, it doesn’t mean they are easy. Whether you are looking to strengthen romantic, friend, work, or family relationships, building and sustaining healthy, meaningful relationships require time, energy, and consistently practicing the following five habits:

  1. Listen. When your partner talks to you about their day, listen. When you are having an argument, listen. When your partner is struggling with a difficult decision, listen. (Shocking that a psychologist would value listening, huh?!) Listening involves putting aside your own thoughts and being fully present and available in the moment for them. Listen without the worry of what you are going to say next. There is power in listening and in being heard. If both of these things are practiced regularly you and your partner will experience a heightened sense of connectedness as well as improved communication. (Que next habit!)
  2. Communication. Learning healthy productive ways to communicate can be a relationship game changer. How you communicate can make the difference in whether your relationship will last or be one in the past. Healthy communication involves sharing what you love about your partner, but also bringing up things that are troubling you. Sweeping things under the rug, rather than discussing them openly and honestly, will undoubtedly build resentment and a faulty foundation. Read more