Anti-Inflammatory Spices—Highlighting Ginger & Turmeric

My sweet and loving Mother who lived into her mid-90s used to call it “that achy-breaky feeling” to describe the pain and muscular weakness that seems to increase as we age. While many resort to anti-inflammatory medications, these can have unwanted side effects, so there has been increasing interest in the anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs and spices. Two known for their anti-inflammatory properties are ginger and turmeric.

For centuries, both ginger and turmeric have been used for their flavor and ...

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Arsenic in Rice – Importance of Dietary Moderation & Variety

The recent popularity of gluten-free diets has contributed to an increase in consumption of rice and rice-based products. Moderation in rice consumption has been advised, because rice is a major dietary source of the trace element arsenic and long-term exposure to arsenic is associated with higher rates of certain cancers (skin, bladder, lung) and heart disease. In 2015, Consumer Reports published guidelines on rice consumption that recommended adults limit their rice consumption to 2.3 cups of cooked Basmati rice or ...

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More on Magnesium

As the busy holiday season winds down and we move into a New Year likely to be filled with change, it’s good to remember the important role that magnesium plays in helping us to better manage stress and to guard against anxiety and depression. Inadequate magnesium appears to reduce levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, increasing the risk of depression. Adequate serotonin is also important in the control of satiety (feeling full/satisfied after eating) and in sleep regulation. ...

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Food Industry Impacts Personal & Planetary Health

I just watched again the powerful documentary “Food, Inc.”, which looks at the food industry’s detrimental effects on human health and the environment, as well as on worker safety, immigrant rights, and the livelihood of the American farmer. After viewing this film, I’m guessing that you will never think about meat, especially ground meat and fast food burgers, in the same way. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense ...

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Perspective, Interconnection, & Hope

We have just celebrated Earth Day 2016, and so I have been thinking more than usual about the interconnected web of which I am a part. Teaching “earth-friendly eating”, I invite participants to consider how food choices matter – to personal health, the health of others, and to the health of the earth. But in addition to the connection between our current lifestyle and both personal and planetary health, I have been feeling the need to focus on a ...

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Detoxification for a Healthier Body & Mind

Need a detox? With all the detox advice available today, you may be considering trying one of the many recommended regimens. Before you do, let’s talk about some of the actions you can take to reduce your exposure to toxins and to increase your elimination of toxins … starting with food choices and cooking practices.

You can support your body’s natural detoxification systems by obtaining adequate protein, fiber, and fluids. And be sure to choose plenty of fiber-rich plant foods, especially ...

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Calcium, Vitamin D, Bone Density, & Heart Health

It’s well known that both calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density as we age. However, research on the role of calcification in heart disease and a recent study showing that high doses of vitamin D failed to boost calcium absorption and bone mineral density raise questions about recommended intakes of these nutrients.

So what about the role of calcium in coronary artery disease (CAD)? The National Osteoporosis Foundation webinar this week summarized the research on this topic. ...

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Individualizing Dietary Guidance—Nutrient-Gene Interactions

Nutrient requirements, drug response, and disease risk are influenced by gene variants (mutations) called SNPs. The term SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphism. Research on nutrient-gene interactions or nutrigenomics is evolving rapidly. One area of focus relates to SNPs affecting the MTHFR enzyme, which is necessary for the body to convert the vitamin folic acid to its biologically active form (5-methyltetrahydrofolate).

While there are a number of SNPs affecting the MTHFR enzyme, one of the three most common is C677T, which ...

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Democracy & the Human Spirit

Having just enjoyed a July 4th “Independence Day” celebration featuring nurturing food and friendship, I would like to share some “food for thought” from Parker Palmer’s book HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY–The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.

There is so much in this book that is wonderful … I will just quote one tiny bit that I shared recently with a friend concerned with the political process as it has evolved over time. I find these ...

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Gratitude, Healthy Aging, and Community

I’ve been thinking about gratitude lately, and the connection between gratitude, appreciation, a caring community, and healthy aging. Some of these reflections were prompted by a beautiful and thought-provoking video that uplifts my spirits every time I view it. This video is all about mindfulness (or paying attention and noticing our blessings). Along with the beautiful time-lapse photography of Louie Schwartzberg, a young child and an elderly man speak. The man says, “You think this is just another ...

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