Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beating Depression with Whole Foods in Raleigh

According to Erin Bates from "Drug advertisements and conventional doctors tell the public that depression is caused by an imbalance of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin. This idea makes it seem that drugs that flood the brain with serotonin are the answer to depression, but there is no scientific evidence that drug therapy really works. In studies in which scientists lowered serotonin levels to induce depression, the experiment failed. Other studies found that dramatically increasing serotonin levels in the brain failed to relieve depression. So why do doctors persist in prescribing medications with side effects ranging from mood swings to suicidal or homicidal behaviors when those drugs may not even work?"

There are treatment options that can relieve depression not involving taking synthetic chemicals. Many of the symptoms of depression can be directly linked to, YOU GUESSED IT...Nutrition! Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the standard American diet, which is largely made up of empty carbs, processed foods, and sugar sugar sugar keep our bodies from naturally combatting mental and physical issues such as depression, mood swings and fatigue.

Combatting depression or avoiding it all together may be as easy as changing your diet and boosting your consumption of key foods that deliver brain-boosting nutrients and help regulate brain chemistry. Below are 5 foods known to boost our nutritive status and help battle depression.

The Five Foods for Beating Depression

Fish oils:
"Contain omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that depressed people often lack a fatty acid known as EPA. Participants in a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry took just a gram of fish oil each day and noticed a 50-percent decrease in symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Get omega-3s through walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish like salmon or tuna (Bates)." Standard Process makes an easy to take Tuna Omega Oil that is made from whole foods. Synthetic vitamins will not give you the benefits of whole food vitamins. In fact they often create malnourishment due to your bodies inability to process them correctly.

Brown Rice:
"Contains vitamins B1 and B3, and folic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sugar lows and mood swings. Brown rice also provides many of the trace minerals we need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lower cholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see "instant" on a food label, avoid it(Bates)." Make sure you are getting organic rice and that you are limiting your intake to the suggested 1/2C per serving.

Brewer's Yeast:
"Contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Brewer's yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a thimbleful into any smoothie for your daily dose. This superfood packs a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals in a small package, including 16 amino acids and 14 minerals. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes brewer's yeast a no-brainer for treating depression(Bates)." If you use this in a smoothie consider using SP Complete as your whole food smoothie base. You can find great recipes here.

Whole-grain oats:
"Contain folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6 and B1. Oats help lower cholesterol, are soothing to the digestive tract and help avoid the blood sugar crash-and-burn that can lead to crabbiness and mood swings. Other whole grains such as kamut, spelt and quinoa are also excellent choices for delivering brain-boosting nutrients and avoiding the pitfalls of refined grains such as white flour(Bates)." Bob's Red Mill makes excellent Steel Cut and Rolled Organic Oats. You can even find Gluten Free Oats in this brand!

"Contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. There are numerous ways to get cabbage into your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup or juice it. To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a known cure for stomach ulcers(Bates)."


Also worth mentioning:
Raw cacao, dark molasses and brazil nuts (high in selenium) are also great for boosting brain function and absolving depression.

Things to avoid
"If you feel you are depressed or at risk for depression, you also need to avoid certain foods and substances. Some commonly prescribed drugs -- such as antibiotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, pain killers, ulcer drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson's drugs, birth control pills, high blood pressure drugs, heart medications and psychotropic drugs -- contribute to depression. If you are taking any of these, don't quit them without talking to your doctor; but be aware that they may be contributing to your condition by depleting your body of depression-fighting vitamins and minerals.You should also avoid caffeine, smoking and foods high in fat and sugar. Keeping your blood sugar stable and getting B vitamins is important for stabilizing your mood. Cacao can be good for mood because it releases endorphins in the brain, but watch out for milk chocolate and candy varieties high in sugar (Bates)."

Other non-food things to do
Get plenty of sunshine. Natural sunlight is a proven cure for depression.
Exerciseat least three times per week. Exercise lifts mood and alters brain chemistry in a positive way
Laugh. It's good medicine.

Do Not stop taking any prescribed meds without consulting your doctor. Sudden alterations in a medication schedule can cause severe physical and mental side effects.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Raleigh Chiropractic & Wellness on The Importance of Supplemental Nutrition for Your Health

Why do we need better nutrition?
Our population is overfed and undernourished. We Eat too many carbohydrates. Americans average 200 lbs of sugar/person/year. Much of this is due to our Food Guide Pyramid.

Here is a correct depiction of how our pyramid should appear:

Now Compare that to the USDA's food guide pyramids:

Unfortunately the USDA is pushing us to increase our carbohydrate load through cereals, pastas, breads, and more...when in reality our bodies thrive from the "fruits of the earth" vegetables, oils, fruits, meats...

Here are 5 basic reasons we need high quality supplements in our diet to achieve a higher nutritive status:

1. Poor soil quality: Food quality has dropped

In 1948, you could buy spinach that contained 158 mg of iron. Today, the iron content of raw spinach is just 27 mg.

Between 1963 and 1975, the content of vitamin C in sweet peppers declined from 128 to 89mg and the vitamin A in collard greens dropped from 6500 IU to 3800 IU.

2. Fake Foods
Foods such as the following act as empty calories, excitotoxins, and more. Essentially they do more harm to our bodies than good....
  • Artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Aspartame Hydrogenated or Trans Fats
  • Artificial Flavors and Colorings
  • Soft Drinks

3. We Can't Eat Enough to Stay Healthy!

We can’t eat enough food to obtain the disease preventing or disease treatment potential of most supplements
  • We’d have to heat 2 quarts of corn oil, 5 pounds of wheat germ, 8 cups of almonds or 28 cups of peanuts in order to consume the RDA of Vitamin E

4. To Help Deal With Stress
These areas are all affected by stress. Without proper nutrition we can't rebuild the cellular damage that stress does to these tissues.
5. To prevent or reverse disease
Our bodies are constantly breaking down and rebuilding on the cellular level. Unfortunately many of our bodies lack the proper nutrition to heal. Lifestyle diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the top three causes of death in Americans and are growing daily.

National Center for Health Statistics in 2000:

  • 709,894 people died from heart disease
  • 551,833 people died from cancer
  • 68,662 people died from diabetes
  • 63% of Americans are overweight
  • 31% of Americans are obese
  • Childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled in the past two decades.
  • According to the U.S. Surgeon General report obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year.

Why do we need WHOLE FOOD supplements?

Most Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. Ad Judith deCava reports, “…the nutrition industry has turned into a money grabbing, hustling, lying, cheating scam.” Her research shows that only 3% of nutrition companies manufacture their own product! Other companies slap on a private label which frequently contains incorrect information. Just a few large drug companies such as Merck and Hoffman-LaRoche produce the synthetic vitamins used in the rest of the nutritional supplements found in drug stores, health food stores and even doctor’s offices.

There are Three types of vitamins available to us:

Synthetic Vitamins don’t come from food. For example Thiamine in synthetic vitamins comes from petroleum or coal tar products to make Vitamin B. While they are the same molecular formula of whole food they contain none of the co-factors required for your body to use the vitamin. Therefore your body can’t use them but it tries to using your own bodies reserves causing you to become nutritionally deficient instead!

Crystalline Vitamins are made by treating natural foods with chemicals, solvents, and heat. This destroys almost all of the co-factors and enzymes, leaving only the organic nutrient. This leaves your body with the same problem as the synthetic vitamins because it requires your body to use your reserves of enzymes and co-factors to process the nutrient leaving you nutrient deficient once again!

Whole Food Vitamins, on the other hand, are:
  1. whole foods with only the water and fiber removed (i.e dried food)
  2. They are processed below 112 degrees so the enzymes are alive and they have a limited shelf life
  3. They contain all of the nutrients required by the body to meet it’s needs

Consider the following:

Do you know of any industry, other than the Health Care Industry, that says and gets away with:
  • “The quality of the materials that go into building our products are irrelevant/” and
  • “The quality of the materials that are used to maintain the operation of our products are also irrelevant.?”

If we consider the human body a the “product”of the Health Care Industry, this is certainly the idea that is being conveyed to us all.

We don’t prescribe to this mentality nor do we expect our patients to. We understand that the structure and functions of the human body are built from and run on nutrients. If we can’t get proper nutrients from our diet we must incorporate high quality whole food supplementation to make sure that our cells, tissues, organs and more are being broken down and rebuilt properly as we live.