Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

gut

 

An estimated 40 million adults (18 and older) or 18 percent of the population endorse symptoms of anxiety (not to mention one out of eight children). Treatment of anxiety accounts for one-third of the $148 billion dollars spent annually on mental illnesses in America.

In other words, we spend $42 billion a year on treatment of anxiety disorders in America. Women are 60 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than our male counterparts. These numbers are terrifying to me as a clinician, a woman and a mother.

 

The symbiotic relationship between our gut health and how we feel is a hot topic of discussion and research. Scientists, physicians, and mental health practitioners are increasingly aware of the important relationship between the balance of “critters” in our gut and how we experience our brain, mood and emotions. So, before we begin to discuss what we can do to optimize this important relationship, let’s explore the underlying processes.

 

From a holistic vantage point our gut is known as the “second brain” and there are structural/anatomical reasons for this reference. The “second brain,” known scientifically as the enteric nervous system, consists of sheaths of neurons located in the walls of our gut. We refer to these sheaths as the vagus nerve and it runs from our esophagus to our anus, roughly nine meters long.

 

Did you know…?

 

The bacteria, fungi and viruses that make up your body’s microflora outnumber your body’s cells by 10 to 1.

 

95 percent of the body’s serotonin supply is found in our bowels.

 

The vagus nerve contains 100 million neurons, which is more neurons than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system hold.

 

There are over 100 trillion bacterial cells contained within the gut.

 

Our gut sends far more information to our brain than the other way around.

 

When the precarious balance of bacteria in our gut becomes disturbed we often experience symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal related disorders. These symptoms are likely to start out as complaints of bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.

 

These symptoms are often indicators of “leaky gut syndrome” where our gut wall becomes permeable and particles of food start to escape from the digestive and GI tract. When this occurs the domino effect of issues becomes inevitable and thus begins the cascading symptom patterns that plague tens of millions of Americans struggling with GI related disorders.

 

Due to the interconnectedness of our brain and enteric nervous system, via the vagus nerve, once our gut bacteria is out of whack, we are vulnerable to a pattern of emotional discomfort, usually marked by increasing episodes of anxiety and depression.

 

How does our gut bacteria become so unbalanced? Here are a few of the many ways in which we accidentally (and sometimes unavoidably) contribute to this pattern of disturbance:

 

Excessive and unmanaged stress

 

Too much use of antibiotics

 

Food Allergies

 

Prolonged use of steroids

 

Intestinal infections

 

High sugar; low fiber diet (in other words, standard American diet)

 

Regular consumption of alcohol

 

 

 

If you are reading this blog and you find yourself relating to this content, I encourage you to seek out professional help, contact us,  to better understand what these symptoms mean for your unique constitution. Taking the right type of probiotic to help restore balance in the micro flora in your gut is one step, but often with more advanced GI issues and more acute anxiety-based symptoms there is a need to first heal the permeability of the gut wall before adding in probiotics.

 

There is a growing body of research that is exploring strain specific probiotics to help mitigate acute symptoms of anxiety. For example, in clinical trials involving the study of mice, Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus have shown to help normalize anxiety-like behavior. Lactobacillus appears to work on the GABA receptors, an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of acute anxiety. GABA is the receptor influenced when you take a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Ativan.

 

There is a bourgeoning area of interest and research exploring use of probiotics to treat a wide variety of mental illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to create a new line of psychiatric medications referred to as Psychobiotics, but this field of research is still in its infancy.

 

So, that being said, there is a lot we can do right from the comfort of our own home to start the process of realigning the balance of our gut flora. As you can imagine, most of it involves cleaning up our diet, being mindful of the relationship between food and mood, and exploring our habits and patterns. Below are action steps you can take in an effort to begin the process of healing your gut, mind and brain:

 

It generally takes a minimum of 90 days for these suggestions to be maximally effective:

 

Eliminate sugars: The “fake” sugars. We are not talking about eliminating whole fruits. Rather, cutting out the baked goods, cookies, ice cream, and store bought sugary products that wreak havoc on the bacteria in our gut and lead to cyclical patterns of emotional and physical cravings.

 

Eliminate all simple starches and reduce intake of even complex starches.

 

Add in fermented and living foods. Please try to avoid store bought yogurts even though they are considered fermented.

These products are loaded with sugars and often end up exacerbating imbalance.

 

Consider having the vast majority of your diet be plant-based foods. Generally speaking, eat as many veggies as you want in any form you want. Avoid use of store bought dressings etc., which are loaded with sugar and preservatives. If your GI tract is especially damaged, consider cooking all your veggies before consumption.

 

Consume foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, salmon, flax, some types of squash, etc.).

 

Aim to consume local and organic sources of animal protein. Doing so will reduce your ingesting unwanted antibiotics and feed-based chemicals.

 

WARNING!   Contact us, or a knowledgeable healthcare provider on the steps to take properly!

Doing so incorrectly will cause more harm to your system.  If your doctor does not know the correct steps for you, RUN!

 

Discuss with your practitioner if the use of a probiotic or prebiotic will benefit your unique situation. A probiotic introduces specific strains of good bacteria, while a prebiotic introduces carbohydrates that serve as food the bacteria already present in your gut.

 

Exercise. Again, more days than not. Enough to sweat. The goal is to find joy in it. But if you hate it, that’s okay. Do it anyway.

 

Drink mostly water.

 

Work with a skilled psychologist or mental health professional to metabolize past trauma, identify faulty thought patterns, and implement mindfulness-based skills to better manage your central nervous system.

 

Implement a daily mindfulness/meditation practice. The goal is observed your mind, not to clear it or control your thoughts. Simple observation and balanced breathing. This is a restful and restorative way to calm the central nervous system and recalibrate the vagus nerve.

 

Exploring the relationship between our mood and our gut bacteria reveals an interconnected relationship between the mind, brain, and body, via the enteric nervous system and vagus nerve. This relationship is the foundation of why it is critical to address your emotional discomfort from a holistic and integrated approach to your wellness.

 

The good news is that because we now know and understand that there is a connection between the mind and body, we have the knowledge and tools to make immediate changes that will yield significant results in how we feel. The better we understand and participate in our own sense of wellness and empowerment the more likely we are to embark on change that starts from within.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

 

312-972-9355

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Cooking with MCT Oil

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

Cooking with MCT Oil

mayo

How to Use MCT Oil in Recipes

Some people are firm believers in taking MCT oil daily just like a supplement, straight from the spoon or mixed into drinks. MCT oil has no taste or smell, so this is an option if you’re really looking to increase your intake quickly. But be careful — a little goes a long way. People should start off with half a teaspoon and work their way up to one tablespoon.

 

How can you use MCT oil creatively at home without needing to simply drink “Bulletproof coffee” every morning? Some clever ways to get more MCT oil into your diet include:

 

Making homemade mayonnaise in a blender (using MCT oil, an egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and salt)

Whisking together a salad dressing (using MCT oil, raw honey, Dijon mustard and your favorite herbs)

Adding some MCT oil to smoothies, shakes or yogurt (which stabilizes your blood sugar since it helps slow down the rate that glucose and fructose sugar molecules are absorbed)

Using MCT oil in homemade baked goods instead of coconut oil (sub out about 1/3 of the coconut oil for MCT oil instead)

Don’t forget that just like with coconut oil being used for your hair, MCT oil is great for your skin and hair. MCT oil can be used in homemade teeth whitening treatments, moisturizer, lip balm, sunscreen, shaving cream, conditioner, facial masks, salt scrubs and essential oil blends.

 

Final Thoughts

The difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that MCT oil is more concentrated and contains different proportions of MCTs. While coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, concentrated MCT oil is almost entirely MCTs.

Scientifically proven benefits of MCT oil include its ability to help with weight loss or maintenance, heart health protection, improved energy levels and mood, and digestion and nutrient absorption support. In addition, MCT oil has antibacerial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and it can withstand high-heat cooking.

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dir Personalized Healthcare

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth Services

 

How Does MCT OIL Help?

oil

  1. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance

Compared to other types of oils and fats, MCTs seem to have positive effects on fat burning and weight reduction. As part of a healthy diet, MCT oil can help increase satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions. Does this mean eating large amounts of MCTs daily will make you drop pounds? Not quite. Not every study has shown that MCTs can produce weight loss necessarily, but some definitely have shown the positive effects of MCTs on metabolic function.

 

For example, a 2003 study published in the Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders showed that after comparing long-term consumption of MCTs and LCTs on energy expenditure, body composition and fat oxidation in obese women, the MCTs had more significant effects. Substitution of MCTs for LCTs in a targeted energy balance diet proved to offer better prevention of long-term weight gain due to increases in energy expenditure and fat-burning. (2)

 

Another 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition compared body weight and body fat in groups of adults either consuming long-chain fats or medium-chain fats over a 12-week period. The energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate intakes did not differ significantly between the groups, only the types of fats they were receiving. After 12 weeks, the decrease in body weight and body fat was significantly greater in the MCT group than in the LCT group. The decrease in the area of subcutaneous fat in the MCT group was also significantly greater than that in the LCT group, which suggests that the MCT diet might be able to help reduce body weight and fat in individuals who need to lose weight. (3)

 

How do MCTs help with weight loss? Experimental studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation in both animals and humans. (4) In other words, it’s believed that they help the body produce ketones, which gives you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low levels. In fact, MCTs are sometimes called “the ultimate ketogenic fats” because of their heating effect in the body and ability to rapidly be used for energy, especially when someone is not eating a lot of carbohydrates, making them perfect for the keto diet to help the body reach ketosis — along with one of the best things to consume on the Paleo diet.

 

  1. Helps Protect Heart Health

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Neutraceuticals and Functional Foods reported that MCTs can help prevent the development of metabolic syndrome — a term given to a cluster of metabolic disorders, such as abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and impaired fasting glucose levels. MCTs seem to be able to help decrease cardiovascular disease and mortality risk in general due to helping lower odds of becoming obese. Most likely, they have this positive effect because they are anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, satiating and easily used for energy as described above. (5)

 

  1. Improves Energy Levels and Mood

Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids, so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well at work and stay sharp well into older age. Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists.

 

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging found that the MCTs in coconut oil helped improved memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. (6) It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals better will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.

 

MCT oil helps not only feed your brain cells, but also improves your gut health — which is largely connected to cognitive functioning thanks to the “gut-brain connection.” In one animal study published in the Journal of Animal Feed and Sciences, when pigs were either fed a standard feed mixture (the control) or the same mixture supplemented with two grams each of caprylic or capric acid MCTs, the pigs receiving MCTs showed improvements in bacterial gut health, performance, growth and digestion of nutrients, including proteins and fiber. (7)

 

  1. Supports Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Both MCT oil and coconut oil are beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota, which in turn has positive effects on the digestive symptom, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses, strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomachaches and so on. (8)

 

You also need to consume coconut and other healthy fats in order absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. These include nutrients like beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A found in plants like berries, squash and leafy greens), vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and lutein. When you consume a healthy diet filled with lots of different whole, plant foods but don’t get enough healthy fat sources at the same time, your body is basically not capable of utilizing these nutrients as well.

 

  1. Has Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antifungal Properties

MCTs are powerful, natural antibiotics that help balance bacteria in the gut. In the age of antibiotic resistance, it’s meaningful to have natural methods to kill some harmful types of bacteria. Here are some known to be killed by medium-chain fats: streptococcus (which causes strep throat, pneumonia and sinus infections), straphylococcus (which causes food poisoning and urinary tract infections), neisseria (which causes meningitis, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory diseases), and some other strains that cause stomach viruses, candida, ulcers and sexually transmitted diseases. (9)

 

In fact, there are at least a dozen pathogenic viruses that have been inactivated at least partially by lauric acid. Another great thing about MCTs is that they are capable of reducing “bad bacteria” without harming or removing “good bacteria.” That’s important, considering we need the good kind for intestinal health and digestive functioning.

 

According to some studies, medium-chain fats offer better protection from infections than longer-chain fatty acids do. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that fatty acids and monoglycerides with chain lengths varying from 8–12 carbons were found to be more strongly antiviral and antibacterial when added to milk and formula than long-chain monoglycerides. Medium-chain lipids added to milk (lipid-enhanced milk) and formula inactivated a number of pathogens, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), haemophilus influenzae and streptococcus. (10)

 

  1. Can Withstand High-Heat Cooking

MCT oils are particularly good for cooking because they have a high “smoke point,” meaning they don’t oxidize from heat easily and can withstand high temperatures. This is crucial, because even certain “good fats” are not well-suited for cooking (like extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, for example) and can become rancid oils somewhat easily. Both coconut oil and MCT oil can be used for the most part in baked goods, sautés, stir-fries and grilled foods without oxidizing.

We are all individuals, with a unique and sacred temple to take care of.  Not all products work on everybody the same way.  Please take it slowly, introduce it slowly into your body.

If you have any questions, please contact us, and we will help you through it.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dir P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

MCT Oil vs. COCONUT Oil

Health and WEllness Associates
EHS Telehealth Associative

 

MCT OIL vs. COCONUT Oil

mctorcoconumt

MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil

There’s been no shortage of coconut oil uses and treatments proven by recent research — it provides not only MCTs (especially abundant levels of lauric acid), but also antibacterial properties, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and more. The difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that MCT oil is more concentrated and contains different proportions of MCTs. While coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, concentrated MCT oil is almost entirely MCTs.

 

There are four different kinds of MCTs, which differ depending on the number of carbons there are connected to the fat molecules (this ranges between 6 to 12 carbons long). The MCTs in coconut oil are made up of about 50 percent of one kind (lauric acid), so the fact that coconut oil is mostly just one type of MCT is one reason that some people prefer concentrated MCT oils more. “MCT oils” usually have all four types of MCTs that can be difficult to get from other foods.

 

Coconut oil is one of the best sources of lauric acid as you can see, which many studies have shown has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Although about 90 percent of the fats found in coconut oil are saturated, a high percentage is not the very short chain MCTs that have less carbons (lauric acid has 12).

 

The fatty acids termed MCTs and lauric acid act somewhat differently in the body, although in the U.S., coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is a type of MCT. Some people claim that lauric acid doesn’t biologically act like other forms of shorter MCTs (or at least as quickly), which is one reason why MCT advocates believe that MCT oil is somewhat superior.

 

On the other hand, coconut oil does have some well-documented health benefits that concentrated MCT oils might be lacking. The biggest drawback to buying manufactured MCT oil is that you might not really know what you’re getting. In order to produce a liquid MCT oil that does not become solid at colder temps, it might need to be more refined than regular coconut oil. MCT oil might also remove some of the very beneficial lauric acid, which is the star ingredient in real extra-virgin coconut oil.

 

So while some marketers of MCT oil might claim that their products contain more concentrated and diverse MCTs than real coconut oil does, it might be because they’re chemically altered and absent of lauric acid. It could even have “filler” oils like omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Another factor to consider is that most MCT oils on the market are manufactured via chemical/solvent refining, which can mean they require using chemicals like hexane and different enzymes and combustion chemicals.

 

The bottom line? Enjoy both coconut oil and quality MCT oil for their numerous benefits — just make sure you buy a high-quality MCT oil that clearly states what the ingredients are and how it was produced.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dir P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

MCT OIL

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth Association

  MCT OIL

 

mctoil

“MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs — roughly 62 percent to 65 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs — but recently more concentrated “MCT oil” has also been growing in popularity.

 

MCTs, also called “MCFAs” for medium-chain fatty acids, are believed to be largely missing from the diets of people eating “standard Western” diets, most likely because the public has been led to believe that all forms of saturated fats are potentially harmful. However, recent research has shown a lot of evidence about the real truth regarding saturated fats.

 

We now know that ideally MCT oils like coconut oil should actually be consumed every day. Certain saturated fats, especially MCTs and other healthy fats found in things like coconut oil or grass-fed beef, are in fact easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and might even have more benefits related to heart health, obesity prevention and brain health, too.

 

In fact, traditional populations living in tropical areas have been consuming saturated fats, including sources of MCTs like coconuts, for thousands of years without any ill effects — so consider the idea that a low-fat diet is “healthy” to be one of the biggest nutrition lies there ever was!

 

Aside from coconut oil, smaller amounts of MCTs can also be found in certain other foods with saturated fats, including butter (especially butter from grass-fed cows), cheeses, palm oil, whole milk and full-fat yogurt.  Dairy products in the United States do not have MCT’s in them.

 

Caution: Palm oil is a controversial source of MCTs, not because it’s bad for your body, but because there are major issues involved in the process of procuring this oil. These include deforestation, loss of wildlife diversity and unethical treatment of workers. That’s why I only recommend RSPO-certified palm oil, which comes from producers who prioritize sustainability practices.

 

What Makes MCT Oils So Special?

MCTs get their name because of the length of their chemical structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen. Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (like butyric acid) have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats have between six to 12 carbons and long-chain fats (like omega-3s) have between 13–21.

 

What makes MCTs a top source of essential healthy fats? Medium-chain fats are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. This is one reason why many people claim that MCTs, including coconut oil, are burned by the body for energy, or “fuel,” instead of being stored as fat.

 

Compared to longer-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed more easily since there’s less work for the body to do breaking apart carbon bonds. MCTs are smaller, so they can permeate our cell membranes more easily and don’t require that we use special enzymes in order for our bodies to utilize them.

 

MCTs and saturated fats are good for you in other ways, too: They reduce the risks of low-fat diets, and they’re supportive of your gut environment, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Additionally, MCTs contain antioxidant properties, which is why coconut oil has far-reaching inflammatory benefits that have led it to be used to treat dozens of health problems in folk medicine for centuries.

 

 

MCT Oil Nutrition Facts

There are actually a few different forms of MCT oils, some that are likely more effective than others. The four different kinds of MCTs include caprioc (acid C6:0), caprylic (acid C8:0), capric (acid C10:0) and lauric (acid C12:0) acids. Generally speaking, the shorter the chain (meaning the lower the number of carbons the acid has), the faster the body can turn the fatty acids into usable energy, in ketone form. Ketones are what the body produces when it’s using fat for energy instead of glucose.

 

Regardless of the exact kind of MCT, all are still beneficial for overall health — especially for people who have a difficult time digesting other forms of fats, including anyone with malabsorption problems, digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infections and so on.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

 

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Lentils for Thyroid and Adrenal Glands

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS – Telehealth System

 

Have Lentils to Recharge the Adrenal Glands.

 

lentils2

Lentils are packed with copper and manganese – two minerals that you  might not find an adequate amount in your daily vitamins.
These minerals help the adrenal glands produce energy hormones for one, but also help you with thinning hair, and fat and cholesterol
absorption.  Yale researchers say that 1/2 cup daily is the amount you need, for a 30% increase in energy, thinning hair, and fat absorption
in the intestines, helping you loose up to three pounds a month.

You do not need a special recipe, or preparation for this either.  Buy Progresso lentil soup.  Add it to another soup you are making or
spaghetti sauce, chili, stews, even casserole dishes.  There is not a heavy flavor, and most people will not know you added it.

If you have thyroid problems this is a must eat!  If you have kidney problems this is a must eat!

 

Contact us with any of your healthcare concerns.

Health and Wellness Associates

Dr. A Sullivan

 

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HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

 

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Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

EGG RECALL

Company Recalls More Than 200 Million Eggs Due to Salmonella Scare

Nearly 207 million eggs produced at a farm in Hyde County, N.C., are being voluntarily recalled because of concerns of contamination with the salmonella bacteria, the egg company announced.

In a statement, Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Ind. said that 22 illnesses but no deaths have so far been linked to the tainted eggs.

The eggs “have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems,” the company said Friday.

The recall arose after illnesses were reported in East Coast states. The outbreak “led to extensive interviews and eventually a thorough FDA (Food and Drug Administration) inspection of the Hyde County farm, which produces 2.3 million eggs a day. The facility includes 3 million laying hens with a USDA inspector on-site daily,” the company said.

The eggs under recall were distributed from the North Carolina farm to retailers and restaurants in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, Rose Acre said.

All of the eggs come from plant number P-1065, with a “date range of 011 through date of 102 printed on either the side portion or the principal side of the carton or package.” A full list of affected products can be found below in the company’s news release.

Even healthy people infected with the strain of salmonella “can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain,” the company noted, and heart or arthritic issues can also develop.

“Consumers who have purchased shells eggs are urged to immediately discontinue use of the recalled eggs and to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund,” Rose Acre said. “Consumers with questions may contact the company at (855) 215-5730 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time.”

 

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Uncategorized, Foods

Vegie Lasagna

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth Company

Vegie and Cheese Lasagna

vegie-lasagna

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup sliced button or cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (26-oz.) jar prepared tomato basil pasta sauce
3 Tbs. prepared pesto
1 (15-oz.) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
6 hot cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded part-skim or whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Grana Padano cheese

( If you read the post on Progresso Lentil Soup, this is a good recipe to add it to)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes
Yield: Serves 6

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, and onion, and cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the pasta sauce, stir well, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Combine the pesto and ricotta in a small bowl and mix well.

Spread about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish or pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over the tomato mixture. Top the noodles with half of the ricotta mixture and 1 cup of the tomato mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with the noodles. Spread the remaining tomato mixture over the noodles, and sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

4. Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake for 20 minutes more, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

About Lasagna

In Italy, its home of origin, lasagna is a very different animal than what we’ve come to know in America. While it certainly rates as on the richest dishes in the Italian repertoire, it’s almost austere compared to its American catch-all counterpart. In Italy, lasagna reflects the seasons: A springtime lasagna is delicate with young artichokes, while in autumn, you’ll find layers of pasta mingling with woodsy fresh porcini and winter squash.

But perhaps the true beauty of the Italian approach to lasagna is that by relying more on vegetables and lighter sauces—and less on cheese.

Uncategorized, Health and Disease

Have You Had Mono?

Did you have Mononucleosis?

 

mono

Millions of young Americans have lived through the fatigue and discomfort of mononucleosis.

Now, new research suggests, but doesn’t prove, that the virus that causes the illness may be linked to an increased risk for seven other serious immune-system diseases.

Those diseases include lupus; multiple sclerosis; rheumatoid arthritis; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; inflammatory bowel disease; celiac disease, crohns disease and type 1 diabetes.

“Mono” is a contagious illness that occurs most often in teens and young adults. It’s caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common human viruses.

“Epstein-Barr virus infects over 90 percent of adults, and the infection lasts for a lifetime,” said study lead author Dr. John Harley.

“The new results are building a strong case that this virus is also involved in causing a number of autoimmune diseases for at least some patients,” added Harley. He is director of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology.

“It is the kind of circumstantial evidence that is comparable to a smoking gun,” he added.

And those seven diseases affect roughly 8 million Americans, Harley and his colleagues said.

However, one expert said people who have had mono shouldn’t panic.

The findings “should not be a cause for alarm,” said Dr. David Pisetsky, a professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

“In modern life everyone has been exposed and infected with Epstein-Barr,” he noted. “And if 99 percent of people have been exposed to Epstein-Barr, and only 0.1 percent have lupus, it means there really must be other factors at play that affect risk,” Pisetsky explained.

“I really don’t think it’s a reason for undue concern,” he added. Pisetsky is also on the scientific advisory board for the Lupus Research Alliance.

Harley’s in-depth genetic analysis revealed that at the cellular level, the Epstein-Barr virus shares a number of abnormal viral on-off switches (“transcription factors”) in common with those seven other illnesses.

Those transcription factors are meant to move along the human genome (DNA roadmap), jumpstarting cells into performing necessary tasks.

But the abnormal switches found in Epstein-Barr hijack this process. First, they bind to a specific protein — known as EBNA2. Then they move about the genome in search of disease trigger points. Once docked at a respective trigger point, the risk for that particular disease goes up, the new research suggests.

Harley said he and other scientists will continue to examine additional factors that likely also contribute to autoimmune risk. Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.

 

 

As the cause of mononucleosis, Epstein-Barr is typically transmitted via saliva, giving rise to its nickname as the “kissing disease.”

Kids and teens with mono may have a fever, muscle aches and sore throat. They often feel exhausted. However, many people — especially young children — experience no symptoms. And in most cases, mono resolves within a couple of weeks.

The new findings stem from an extensive genetic review of potential links between the Epstein-Barr virus and roughly 200 illnesses. However, the study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The review actually uncovered preliminary links to 94 additional diseases, including breast cancer. But Harley’s team said further investigation is needed to confirm those associations.

Tim Coetzee is chief advocate for services and research with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He characterizes the new findings as “an important contribution.”

“We need these kinds of studies to help us unravel how this virus could trigger disease,” he said. “The paper is also a powerful demonstration about how detailed genetic studies can help us understand human diseases.”

Careful research like this, Coetzee added, “will give us the knowledge we need to better understand the complexity of autoimmune diseases, and importantly point the way to potential prevention of these.”

 

Ask yourself if you have had a lot of strep throats, asthma, bronchitis or mono in your life.  Are you one who has allergies, If so, make an appointment with us, and we can work together to prevent any of these diseases from attacking you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrothers

Director of Personalized Health Care

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

312-972-9355 (WELL)

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

An Underrated Fruit You Should Eat

Health and Wellness Associates

honeydew

Honeydew melons are large and oval shaped melons with a smooth rind that range in color from white to pale green. The flesh is usually pale green as well, although some varieties have a gold flesh.

Honeydews are rich in water and contain fewer carbohydrates than other fruit varieties. But, as with most foods, it is important to portion control.

Honeydew is available fresh almost all year, with peak season from June to October.

 

Health Benefits of Honeydew

Honeydew melons are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing more than half a day’s worth (53%) in one half-cup serving.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in blood and cells, plays a role in boosting immunity, and assists in collagen produce, making it important in anti-aging.

Honeydew is also a good source of potassium. Potassium has the potential to reduce blood pressure. It also maintains fluid and electrolyte balance and is required for proper nerve conduction and muscle contraction.

Common Questions About Honeydew

Does honeydew differ from cantaloupe nutritionally?

The biggest difference between cantaloupes and honeydew melon is the vitamin A content. Cantaloupe contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, whereas honeydew contains a mere two percent.

As for calories and carbohydrates, honeydew and cantaloupe match up almost identically. Honeydew has slightly more calories (about four) and slightly more carbohydrates (about 1.5) as compared to cantaloupe.

Picking and Storing Honeydew

Choose melons that are heavy for their size and have a smooth, undamaged rind with a waxy feel to them. Avoid melons that are very soft or feel damp at the stem end.

Smell your honeydew. It should give off a strong, sweet aroma.

Touch the honeydew. It should yield slightly and spring back when you press the blossom end (which is opposite the stem end).

If your melon isn’t quite ripe yet, store it at room temperature. Refrigerate it as soon as it ripens to avoid it from becoming overly ripe.

After melon has been cut it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and can last a few days.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Honeydew

Because melons have such a high percentage of water cooking them destroys their texture, making them mushy.

Therefore, honeydew is best served simply sliced or paired with protein such as, low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta. Honeydew can also be used as garnish or used in fruit salads and smoothies. Puree honeydew to make cold, refreshing soup.

 

Health and WEllness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL (9355)

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com