The body is made up of a variety of systems that are inter-connected, so it’s no surprise that when one system is off balance it can trigger a domino effect, potentially creating a surge of severe health complications. A perfect example of this is the relationship between digestion and the mind. The digestive system houses immunity, fights off harmful invaders, maintains overall health and is home to the largest concentration of mood-altering neurotransmitters. None of which would be possible without good bacteria in the gut.
You think what you eat. It doesn’t have quite the same ring as the age-old slogan, you are what you eat, but its got potential. I can see the ad for it now – a child’s brain growing vastly larger as they delve into a huge piece of wild salmon… Or maybe I should stick to what I know best and stop channeling my inner Don Draper. I was never really much for advertising anyway. Here are 10 of the best essential-nutrient-rich foods that fuel the brain to make it stronger, more durable, quicker and Continue reading
The past few years have been good to chocolate. Once it was discovered that chocolate was high in antioxidants and mood boosting neurotransmitters, chocolate lovers around the world rejoiced. Now, new research is showing that this delicious food has even more profound health benefits than originally thought. Continue reading
We have just returned from a week with friends in Kismet, NY, a cozy beach town on Fire Island where cars are prohibited and reality seems a million miles away. The days were filled with breakfast overlooking the ocean, laying on the beach, swimming, reading, cookouts, bike rides, homemade dinners, good wine, and the occasional dance party. It was pure relaxation, enjoyment and rejuvenation. Which got me thinking about the benefits of a vacation, notably a week, weekend or even a day at the beach. Whether it’s overbooked schedules, demanding careers, family, city life, or just an overdue need for peace and quiet, the beach is an ideal way to alleviate stress. Taking into consideration the dangers of over-exposure to sun without spf, the beach can provide unexpected physical and mental health benefits. The air feels undeniably fresh (definitely not city air), the sun provides pure Vitamin D, the sound of the waves is calming, and salt water is detoxifying. If that’s not enough, think of the benefits of disconnecting from cell phones, blackberries, computers, and TVs.
Health Benefits of The Beach:
- Sunlight / Ultraviolet Radiation (Heliotherapy) – Paradoxically, the ultraviolet rays that cause tanning and burning are the same ones that have a therapeutic effect (alleviating depression) and naturally manufacture Vitamin D. Most research shows the sun is a better source of vitamin D than supplements. Fifteen minutes in direct sun per day is ideal. Wear sunscreen and have an umbrella for shade the rest of the day.
- Salt Water – Salt water helps rid the body of toxins and Continue reading
Dr. Deepak Chopra is an established endocrinologist, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, universal scholar of quantum physics, best-selling author, and aficionado of the mind-body connection. I had the utmost pleasure of seeing him speak this past weekend. The topic: Reinventing The Body – Reinventing The Soul. Chopra believes the human body is a process of our own consciousness; that our mind is not in our brain, but in every cell of our body. In other words, the immune system and nervous system are intertwined because all over our body’s cell walls are receptors for neuropeptides (our molecules of emotion). Basically what Chopra is saying is that we have complete control over our thoughts, emotions, health and wellbeing. Now I realize most people don’t geek out over quantum physics the way I do so here is the area of his lecture most pertinent to health and wellness. Continue reading
Meditation can improve cognitive functioning, strengthen communication in the prefrontal cortex, increase creativity, peace, self-acceptance and health while decreasing anxiety, depression and stress. I took my first workshop in Transcendental Meditation in 2005, began practicing regularly and felt calmness in the midst of chaotic New York City that I never experienced before. Since then my practice has fluctuated up and down in a love-hate kind of way. It’s tough and I often have a hard time quieting my mind and staying focused. If you read Eat, Pray, Love, you know the feeling I am talking about as Elizabeth Gilbert painstakingly struggles to make it through her first day of meditation.
- Meditation means you have to stop thinking. Continue reading
Ever wonder why certain foods can make you feel either energized or exhausted? According to Dr. Richard Wurtman, a neuroscience professor at MIT, certain foods can alter one’s mood by influencing neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers which allow for the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across synapses. Neurotransmitters control major body functions including movement, emotional response, and our physical ability to experience pleasure and pain. While other factors influence the level of these chemicals, such as hormones, heredity, drugs and alcohol, the three most food sensitive neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – have been studied in relation to mood.
For Relaxation: Eat Carbohydrates. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of calm, relaxation and a general sense of Continue reading
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for men and women ages 15-44. Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults age 18 and older in a given year. Surprisingly, even more Americans are taking antidepressants, 27 million or 10% of the population, as of 2005. Today on the Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman (see post on metabolic burnout for more of his work) wrote about the inadequacies of antidepressants and their failure to work. He has provided 7 imbalances that trigger the body to malfunction (resulting in depression) and the coinciding ways to heal them without drugs.
Dr. Mark Hyman’s 7 steps to Treat Depression without Drugs
- Try an anti-inflammatory elimination diet: Have your body checked for common Continue reading
I tried yoga once but took off for the mall halfway through class, as I had a sudden craving for a soft pretzel and world peace. - Terri Guillemets
What’s so great about Yoga!? Although yoga has become popular in the United States within the past 30 years, there are still many misconceptions out there about the 5,000-year-old practice.
If you’ve ever felt like you needed a serious energy overhaul, check out Dr. Mark Hyman’s article on the Huffington Post about the effects of oxidation on mitochondria leading to metabolic malfunctioning. Better known as what can lead to low energy, fatigue, memory loss, pain and rapid aging. It’s interesting, informative and provides eight ways to give yourself a “metabolic tune-up”.