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Yoga, as Good For Back Pain as Physical Therapy

yoga

Yoga as Good for Back Pain as Physical Therapy

 

Chronic lower back pain is equally likely to improve with yoga classes as with physical therapy, according to a new study.

Twelve weeks of yoga lessened pain and improved function in people with low back pain as much as physical therapy sessions over the same period.

 

“Both yoga and physical therapy are excellent non-drug approaches for low back pain,” said lead author Dr. Robert Saper, of Boston Medical Center.

 

About 10 percent of U.S. adults experience low back pain, but not many are happy with the available treatments, Saper and colleagues write in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The American College of Physicians advised in February that most people with low back pain should try non-drug treatments like superficial heat or massage before reaching for medications.

 

Physical therapy is the most common non-drug treatment for low back pain prescribed by doctors, according to Saper and colleagues. Yoga is also backed by some guidelines and studies as a treatment option, but until now no research has compared the two.

 

For the new study, the researchers recruited 320 adults with chronic low back pain. The participants were racially diverse and tended to have low incomes.

 

The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group took part in a 12-week yoga program designed for people with low back pain. Another took part in a physical therapy program over the same amount of time. People in the third group received a book with comprehensive information about low back pain and follow-up information every few weeks.

 

 

At the start of the study, participants reported – on average – moderate to severe functional impairment and pain. More than two-thirds were using pain medications.

 

To track participants function and pain during the study, the researchers surveyed them at six, 12, 26, 40 and 52 weeks using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).

 

Scores on the RMDQ measure for function declined – meaning function was improving – by 3.8 points over the 12 weeks in the yoga group, compared to 3.5 points in the physical therapy group. Participants who received education had an average RMDQ score decline of 2.5.

 

Statistically, participants ended up with similar functional improvements whether they underwent yoga, physical therapy or education.

 

More people in the yoga and physical therapy groups ended up with noticeable improvements in function, however.

 

People would feel a noticeable improvement with a four to five point drop on the RMDQ, write Dr. Douglas Chang, of the University of California, San Diego and Dr. Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in an accompanying editorial.

 

They write that 48 percent of yoga participants and 37 percent of physical therapy participants reached that goal, compared to 23 percent of people who were in the education group.

 

For achieving noticeable differences in pain, physical therapy was again no better or worse than yoga. After 12 weeks, people in the yoga group were 21 percentage points less likely to used pain medications than those in the education group. That difference was 22 percentage points for physical therapy versus education.

 

 

The improvements among the people in yoga and physical therapy groups lasted throughout the year, the researchers found.

 

“If they remain the same after one year, it’s a good bet that their improvement will continue on,” Saper told Reuters Health.

 

One treatment method won’t help all or even most patients, wrote Chang and Kertesz in their editorial.

 

“Nevertheless, as Saper and colleagues have shown, yoga offers some persons tangible benefit without much risk,” they write. “In the end, however, it represents one tool among many.”

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr Jay J

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Alcohol and Breast Cancer

breastcancaer

Does Alcohol Raise the Risk for Breast Cancer?

 

It’s no secret that genetic, hormonal and environmental factors all seem to play a role in breast cancer. (1) When it comes to alcohol and breast cancer risk specifically, a May 2016 study provides even more insight suggesting that lifestyle factors — including how much alcohol a woman drinks — really matters.

Danish researchers published a study in the British Journal of Medicine providing even more detail of the alcohol and breast cancer risk connection. Analyzing women’s change in alcohol consumption over a five-year period, Danish researchers found that women who increased the amount of alcohol they drank over a five-year period faced a higher risk of breast cancer.

 

For instance, women who drank two more alcohol drinks a day over five years saw a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to women with stable alcohol intake. That same study found a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease in woman who drank more. However, the study authors noted there are other ways to lower heart disease risk without increasing your breast cancer risk from drinking alcohol. (2, 3)

 

Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk Findings

 

Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol not only damages DNA in cells, but it also triggers higher levels of estrogen and other hormones linked to hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer. The estimated alcohol and breast cancer risk increases another 10 percent for each additional drink women regularly have each day, according to breastcancer.org.

 

Here are more important alcohol and breast cancer risk findings:

 

A large meta-analysis looking at the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer risk in women also found that women who drank about three alcoholic drinks a week experienced a moderate increase in breast cancer risk. (4)

A 2009 study found that drinking just three to four alcoholic beverages a week increases a women’s risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who’d been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. (5)

In March 2016, University of Houston researchers found that alcohol not only fuels estrogen that drives the growth of breast cancer cells, but it also diminishes the effects of popular cancer drug Tamoxifen, a widely-used estrogen-blocking drug used to treat many breast cancers. (6)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises women to drink no more than one drink a day. (7) If you drink less than this, don’t increase the amount of alcohol you drink.

Defining a “Drink”

 

When considering all of this research investigating alcohol and breast cancer risk, it’s important to understand what a “drink” actually means. For instance, drinking one dirty martini is very different than drinking a glass of beer or wine. Each may seem like a single drink, but a dirty martini typically contains about 6 ounces of vodka. That means your single martini, for instance, would actually be considered four drinks.

 

Researchers often use the following National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines to define what constitutes as one drink, which is about 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol:

  • 12 ounces of beer or hard cider (3 to 7 percent alcohol)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof liquor

 

Keep in mind that a craft beer with a high alcohol percentage served in a common 16-ounce pint glass could actually be more on par with drinking two 12-ounce bottles of beer with a more standard alcohol percentage of 3 to 7 percent alcohol. (8) And when you’re sipping on something like red wine, be aware of how many ounces the glass is really holding.

 

Women who drink up to one drink a day and men who drink up to two drinks a day are considered moderate drinkers. Women having four or more drinks on any day or a total of eight or more drinks a week are considered high-risk, excessive drinkers. (For men, drinking more than five drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks a week is considered high-risk, excessive drinking.) (9)

 

Other Ways to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

 

With breast cancer cases expected to increase 50 percent by 2030, it’s important to not only consider alcohol and breast cancer risk, but take steps to lower your risk through other lifestyle improvements. (10) The important takeaway is that there are many things you can do lower your breast cancer risk in a meaningful way. Aside from lowering the levels of alcohol you drink, here are other ways to get started:

 

Fruits and veggies are loaded with cancer-fighting compounds — Interesting, a 2016 study found that when girls eat more fruit during adolescence (at least 2.9 servings a day), they enjoy a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life compared to girls who eat the lowest levels of fruit during adolescence (less than a serving a day). (11, 12) Just be sure to choose organic when possible, since some fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list harbor pesticides linked to cancer.

Eat organic, fresh foods as much as possible — Avoid canned foods and drinks. Most contain toxic BPA, also known as bisphenol A, a harmful chemical linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer. (13)

Avoid the heavy metal cadmium — It’s found in cigarettes smoke  and linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. (14, 15) Cadmium is a common food contaminant most often found in shellfish, liver and kidney meats.

Exercise — Strenuous exercise for 4+ hours a week can help lower your risk of breast cancer. Exercises can also help keep you out of the overweight/obese category, which is another risk factor for breast cancer in woman who have reached menopause. (16)

Final Thoughts on Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk

It’s clear that alcohol and breast cancer risk are related, but it may be unrealistic for some women to completely give up all alcoholic drinks for the rest of their lives. The science suggests that increasing the amount of alcohol you drink in midlife increases your risk. Other large research studies found that drinking three drinks or more a week moderately increases risk. In other words, you don’t have to be a binge drinker to experience a significant increase in risk.

 

Having a glass of red wine now and then can provide you with a healthy dose of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant shown to expand your lifespan and aid in weight loss. However, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a neurotoxin that also puts unnecessary stress on your liver. You can easily get those same benefits from blueberries and supplements, so don’t rely on even occasional red wine as your sole source of resveratrol.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P. Carrothers – JA

312-972-WELL

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Flourless Pancakes

flourlesspancakes

Flour-less Pancakes Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sea salt to taste
  • Ghee

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Pour batter into a pan with melted ghee over medium heat. Cook until small bubbles form and then flip.

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

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What Happens to Your Body When You Sit too Long

sitting

What Happens When You Sit Too Long

In recent centuries, advances in industry and technology have fundamentally changed the way many humans spend their waking hours. Where it was once commonplace to spend virtually all of those hours on your feet – walking, twisting, bending, and moving – it is now the norm to spend those hours sitting.

The modern-day office is built around sitting, such that you can conduct business – make phone calls, send e-mails and faxes, and even participate in video conferences – without ever leaving your chair.

But there’s an inherent problem with this lifestyle. Your body was designed for near perpetual movement. It thrives when given opportunity to move in its fully intended range of motion and, as we’re now increasingly seeing, struggles when forced to stay in one place for long periods.

What Happens When You Sit for Too Long?

Studies looking at life in natural agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. The average American office worker can sit for 13 to 15 hours a day.

The difference between a “natural” amount of sitting and modern, inappropriate amounts of sitting is huge, and accounts for negative changes at the molecular level.

According to Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, there are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions associated with excessive sitting.

As he wrote in Scientific American:1

“Sitting for long periods is bad because the human body was not designed to be idle. I have worked in obesity research for several decades, and my laboratory has studied the effect of sedentary lifestyles at the molecular level all the way up to office design.

Lack of movement slows metabolism, reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation, obesity, and the litany of ills—heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more—that come with being overweight. Sitting is bad for lean people, too.

For instance, sitting in your chair after a meal leads to high blood sugar spikes, whereas getting up after you eat can cut those spikes in half.”

Not surprisingly, sitting for extended periods of time increases your risk for premature death. This is especially concerning given the fact that you may be vulnerable to these risks even if you are a fit athlete who exercises regularly.

It takes a toll on your mental health, too. Women who sit more than seven hours per day were found to have a 47 percent higher risk of depression than women who sit four hours or less.2

There’s really no question anymore that if you want to lower your risk of chronic disease, you’ve got to get up out of your chair. This is at least as important as regular exercise… and quite possibly even more so.

Practically Speaking: 5 Tips for Better Health if You Work at a Computer

You might be thinking this sounds good in theory… but how do you translate your seated computer job into a standing one? It’s easier than you might think. For starters, check out these essential tips for computer workers:3

  1. Stand Up

If you’re lucky, your office may be one that has already implemented sit-stand workstations or even treadmill desks. Those who used such workstations easily replaced 25 percent of their sitting time with standing and boosted their well-being (while decreasing fatigue and appetite).4

But if you don’t have a specially designed desk, don’t let that stop you. Prop your computer up on a stack of books, a printer, or even an overturned trash can and get on your feet.

When I travel in hotels, I frequently use the mini fridge or simply turn the wastebasket upside down and put it on top of the desk, and it works just fine.

  1. Get Moving

Why simply stand up when you can move too? The treadmill desk, which was invented by Dr. Levine, is ideal for this, but again it’s not the only option. You can walk while you’re on the phone, walk to communicate with others in your office (instead of e-mailing), and even conduct walking meetings.

  1. Monitor Your Screen Height

Whether you’re sitting or standing, the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, so you’re only looking down about 10 degrees to view the screen. If it’s lower, you’ll move your head downward, which can lead to back and neck pain. If it’s higher, it can cause dry eye syndrome.

  1. Imagine Your Head as a Bowling Ball

Your head must be properly aligned to avoid undue stress on your neck and spine. Avoid craning your head forward, holding it upright instead. And while you’re at it, practice chin retractions, or making a double chin, to help line up your head, neck, and spine.

  1. Try the “Pomodoro Technique”

You know those little tomato-shaped (pomodoro is Italian for tomato) timers? Wind one up to 25 minutes (or set an online calculator). During this time, focus on your work intensely. When it goes off, take 5 minutes to walk, do jumping jacks, or otherwise take a break from your work. This helps you to stay productive while avoiding burnout.

What’s It Really Like to Work While Standing?

If you’re curious… just try it. Reactions tend to be mixed, at least initially, but if you stick with it you will be virtually guaranteed to experience benefits. The Guardian, for instance, recently featured an article with a first-hand account of working while standing, and the author wasn’t impressed.

He said “standing up to work felt like a horrible punishment” and lead to aches and decreased productivity.5 I couldn’t disagree more, but I will say that standing all day takes some adjustment. However, many people feel better almost immediately. As one worker who uses an adjustable-height work desk told TIME:6

“I definitely feel healthier standing while working as it causes me to be more focused on my posture and ‘hold’ myself better in terms of my stomach and shoulders especially.”

Personally, standing more has worked wonders for me. I used to recommend intermittent movement, or standing up about once every 15 minutes, as a way to counteract the ill effects of sitting. Now, I’ve found an even better strategy, which is simply not sitting. I used to sit for 12 to 14 hours a day. Now, I strive to sit for less than one hour a day.

After I made this change, the back pain that I have struggled with for decades (and tried many different methods to relieve without lasting success) has disappeared. In addition to not sitting, I typically walk about 15,000 steps a day, in addition to, not in place of, my regular exercise program. I believe this combination of exercise, non-exercise activities like walking 10,000 steps a day, along with avoiding sitting whenever possible is the key to being really fit and enjoying a pain-free and joyful life.

You’re Not a Prisoner to Your Chair

If you’re still sitting down while reading this… now’s your chance – stand up! As Dr. Levine said: “We live amid a sea of killer chairs: adjustable, swivel, recliner, wing, club, chaise longue, sofa, arm, four-legged, three-legged, wood, leather, plastic, car, plane, train, dining and bar. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you do not have to use them.”

Many progressive workplaces are helping employees to stand and move more during the day. For instance, some corporations encourage “walk-and-talk” meetings and e-mail-free work zones, and offer standing workstations and treadmill desks. But if yours isn’t among them, take matters into your own hands. You may be used to sitting down when you get to work, but try, for a day, standing up instead.

One day can turn into the next and the next, but please be patient and stick with it. Research shows that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to build a new habit and have it feel automatic.7 Once you get to this point, you’ll likely already be reaping the many rewards of not sitting, things like improved blood sugar and blood pressure levels, less body fat and a lower risk of chronic disease.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL

Lower Cholesterol with Foods, not Drugs

lower

Lower Cholesterol With Food, Not Drugs

 

Do you or someone you love have high cholesterol? You are not alone. It is estimated that half of all adults in the United States have high total cholesterol and more than 25 percent have high LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol1  . I urge anyone who has been troubled by the news that their cholesterol is high to stop focusing on a number. Your cholesterol level is only one of many risk factors for heart disease. If you are truly concerned about cardiovascular disease, here’s what should be drawing your attention:

 

Achieving a normal body fat percentage

Achieving a normal blood pressure without the use of medication

Achieving a normal blood glucose without medication

Achieving a favorable cholesterol level without medication

Engage in aerobic exercise and strength training

The most dramatic protection from heart disease results from maintaining a normal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure with diet and exercise, so that you do not require medications. Medications cannot produce comparable results.

 

Your First Course of Action

 

Being well means removing risk factors for heart disease. Since diet is usually the cause of heart disease,2, 3 taking a drug will do little to stop the progression of the disease as long as a patient’s diet – the cause of the disease – remains the same..

 

If you have elevated cholesterol, dietary and lifestyle modifications should be your first course of action. For most people who commit to change their unhealthy habits, medication will prove unnecessary. Fuel your body with nutrients by eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and gradually increase your exercise tolerance.

 

In my medical practice, I have coached thousands of patients to successfully lower their cholesterol through a Nutritarian diet. People drop their blood pressure, lower their blood glucose, lower their weight and improve their exercise tolerance.

 

Dramatic Change with Diet, Not Pills

 

In a 2001 study, a high-fiber, high nutrient diet focusing on vegetables, fruit and nuts was found to reduce cholesterol by 33 percent within two weeks.4  A 2015 study surveying participants who followed the same nutrient-dense, plant rich diet reported an average 42 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol in those with at least 80 percent adherence to that diet. In addition, those who started out obese lost an average of 50 pounds for the entire three year period. Those who started with hypertension reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of 26 mm Hg Case studies accompanied this data, and documenting reversal of atherosclerosis and resolution of heart problems.5 Previous studies on similar diet and lifestyle changes have been shown to cause regression of atherosclerotic heart disease.6, 7 Living healthfully produces such dramatic changes because it doesn’t address just one risk factor; it makes your entire body healthier. It is for those who want real protection, without the side effects of drugs.

 

Unlike taking a cholesterol lowering statin drug while continuing a disease-causing style of eating, a and lifestyle does more than address one or two heart disease risk factors. You don’t just lower your cholesterol, you become more resistant to diabetes and cancer, and improve your immune function.

 

Achieve Overall Protection

 

No medication can cover up a poor diet, and no single medication can significantly reduce multiple risk factors. Unlike drugs, the Nutritarian diet does significantly reduce multiple risk factors, including lowering body weight and blood pressure, reducing intravascular inflammation, and benefiting intravascular elasticity. A superior diet delivers benefits that protect overall, and almost immediately. For patients fighting cardiovascular disease, a diet of can offer many benefits in addition to cholesterol- lowering:

 

Lower blood pressure8-16

Lower intravascular inflammation17-21

Lower blood glucose and triglyceride levels22

Lower inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein

and white blood cell count23-30

Increased tissue antioxidant content31

Improved exercise tolerance and oxygen efficiency16

Larger LDL particle size (smaller particles are more heart disease-promoting) and and  lower particle number Prevents LDL from becoming oxidized, (a more damaging form of cholesterol)32-34

The Side Effects are Side Benefits

 

Prescribing statins is counterproductive. Encouraging a patient to take a statin drug downplays the urgency needed for lifestyle and dietary changes. Changes that I know would drastically improve the health, life expectancy and quality of life of dangerously unhealthy individuals. I always say a prescription pad is like a permission slip. You can choose to remove the cause or treat the symptom; treating the symptom with drugs does not reverse heart disease and carries the risk of significant adverse effects. Almost all of my patients prefer a more effective approach, one that not only reduces cholesterol and restores the health of arteries but also reduces blood pressure and reverses heart disease much more effectively than any medication.

My new book, The End of Heart Disease (April 2016) explains the risk of drugs and medical procedures and details the most effective way to protect your heart and your life.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived :   Dr Joel Fuhrman

312-972-Well

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Link

sleepingchild

Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Linked

 

New research links lack of sleep with heightened risk for type 2 diabetes in youth

 

A new review of scientific literature on the importance of sleep in youth suggests that a lack of sleep can lead to decreased appetite control and body weight regulation, all of which can raise risks for the development of type 2 diabetes.

 

The largest decline in sleep duration and poor sleep quality over the past decades has been seen in children and adolescents, a trend that earlier studies say may contribute to weight gain, increased risks for cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.

 

This new review of evidence, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, has looked at 23 studies on the topic of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and sleep variables to try and elucidate the mechanisms that may explain the association between the two.

 

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, in Canada, reviewed studies that not only assessed risks from inadequate sleep, described as sleeping less than six hours per night – a two-hour or so sleep deficit compared to standard advice for children – but also sleep architecture.

 

A healthy sleep architecture refers to having the right number of restorative sleep cycles and rapid eye movement phases to feel sufficiently well-rested. An out of whack sleep architecture has been associated in past studies with insulin resistance.

 

In terms of sleep duration, researchers have found that the lowest risk for type 2 diabetes is observed, similar to the figure given for adults, at a minimum sleep duration of seven to eight hours per day.

 

Drawing from the findings of the different studies evaluated, they have identified a number of mechanisms by which the lack of sleep can elevate risks for type 2 diabetes among children.

 

One of them, perhaps the most prominent one, is the increased exposure to the stress hormone cortisol due to short sleep duration. This may contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat and subsequent increased insulin resistance.

 

The reason for this is that the authors also noted that the association between sleep quality and insulin resistance was not independent of the level of adiposity – the increase in the number of fat cells.

 

There may also be another phenomenon implicated that has to do with the nervous system which, in response to the stress of not sleeping, negatively influences the hormone leptin.

 

While we sleep, leptin usually rise to control appetite. However, when sleep is restricted, leptin gets inhibited. The inhibition of leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety. These effects can translate into progressive weight gain.

 

Sleep is a modifiable lifestyle habit associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. One randomised trial that was part of the review conducted among children aged 8 to 11 years showed that increasing sleep duration by just 1.5 hour per night over a week resulted in lower food intake and lower body weight.

 

Although more studies are needed to shed light on the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with type 2 diabetes risk, there’s no possible risk in children and teens improving their sleep and getting enough of it on a regular schedule each night.

 

If you need help, have concerns or just want a healthcare plan for YOU, then contact us and we will help you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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V is for Vegetables and Unique Recipes

vegetables

 

V is for Vegetables

When you look at a basket of garden-fresh vegetables, is your imagination inspired by the endless culinary possibilities these fresh-picked beauties represent? Do you feel excitement and a sense of adventure as you take in their distinctive colors, shapes, and weights?

 

One of my goals as a chef, cook-book writer, and father is to help people discover the joys of fresh, locally grown, seasonal vegetables. I want people to be filled with fascination when they see coils of garlic scapes or lacy fronds of fennel.

 

The following recipes from my latest cookbook, V Is for Vegetables, will show you how to perform edible transformations, turning what may seem scraggly, rooty, and earthy into delicious, attractive dishes. You don’t need sophisticated cooking skills — just an appetite for new flavors and textures, and a willingness to explore the possibilities.

 

GARLIC-SCAPE OMELET

Garlic scapes are the tender shoots of the garlic plant that grow up and out of the stem, curling their way toward the sky. Most commercial growers remove the scapes to preserve the energy of the garlic bulbs and increase yield. For home cooks, though, they’re a real treat. Look for scapes at farmers’ markets in early summer. You can chop and prepare them like green beans or slice them thinly and sauté to bring out their delicate aroma. Scapes have a far milder taste than mature garlic.

Garlic-Scape-Omelet

Garlic Scape Omelet

 

Makes one serving

Prep time: five minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

2 tbs. butter

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced on the diagonal

3 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic clove, scapes, salt, and pepper and cook until the scapes begin to soften, about two minutes. Remove the garlic clove and discard; transfer the scapes to a bowl.

 

Wipe the skillet clean, and then melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat.

 

Beat the eggs well in a small bowl, and add salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir vigorously to create small, fine curds. As you work, scrape down the sides of the pan so the eggs cook evenly.

 

Sprinkle one-third of the cooked scapes onto the eggs just before the eggs firm up. When the top is evenly set and not runny, tilt the pan away from you and fold the omelet in half with a spatula. The lip of the pan will help form the shape of the omelet as it continues to cook gently.

 

Turn out the omelet onto a plate and serve topped with the remaining garlic scapes.

 

WARM WILTED PEA SHOOTS

Think beyond the pea pod. Succulent pea shoots have long been a staple in Chinese cooking, and some U.S. farmers are now growing peas especially for their shoots and leaves. Look for pea shoots in late spring, and enjoy them in any dish as a replacement for greens like spinach, Swiss chard, or kale. You can add raw pea shoots to salads for an extra kick, but wilting them really brings out their flavor.

peashoots

Warm Wilted Pea shoots

 

Makes four servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: three minutes

 

2 tbs. olive oil

1 tbs. sesame oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

4 large handfuls pea shoots

Handful snow pea pods, blanched

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive and sesame oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

 

Add the garlic, pea shoots, snow pea pods, salt, and pepper.

 

Cook, stirring often, until the pea shoots are just wilted, about a minute. Serve warm.

 

BRAISED RADISHES WITH HONEY AND BLACK PEPPER

Braising softens radish roots and tempers their spicy rawness. The sweet honey and aromatic black pepper in this recipe complement, rather than detract from, the character of the radishes, and the browned edges of the radishes themselves add a flavorful touch.

Braised-Radishes-With-Honey-and-Black-Pepper

Braised Radishes With Honey and Black Pepper

 

Makes four servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

2 tbs. olive oil

1 lb. radishes, halved

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 tbs. honey

1 tsp. coarsely cracked black pepper

2 tbs. cider vinegar

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half the radishes and all the garlic, and cook until radishes are lightly browned, about five minutes.

 

Add the honey and pepper, and allow the honey to caramelize, about one minute.

 

Add the vinegar, the remaining radishes, and salt. Cook until the second batch of radishes is just warmed but not soft. Serve warm.

 

WARM ZUCCHINI SALAD

Zucchini is more than a ubiquitous plant that grows out of control in summer. Along with other summer squashes like yellow crookneck and pattypan, it’s a symbol of Mediterranean cooking. The tender textures and light flavors are inextricably linked to summer and sun.

Warm-Zucchini-Salad

Warm Zucchini Salad

 

Makes four servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: eight minutes

 

2 tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 lb. zucchini and other summer squashes, cut into wedges

Pinch crushed red-pepper flakes

Pinch dried oregano

Pinch dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fava or any shell beans, blanched, peeled, and rinsed

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, zucchini, red-pepper flakes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is tender, about five minutes.

 

Add the favas, goat cheese, and basil. Toss and serve warm. (Also delicious cooled.)

 

Why No Numbers? Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need.  — The Editors

 

Call us if you have any concerns or questions about your healthcare.  If you don’t know what you are doing , it is better to ask.  Sometimes there are no do-overs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Mark Anthony

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The Healthiest Super Veggies

Vegetables_Bad_For_Health_Asparagus

The Healthiest Super-Veggies

 

 

Healthiest of the Super- Veggies

 

Call me crazy, but I’ve never had an issue with eating vegetables. Even at a young age I was accustomed to eating all kinds of veggies, and they never phased me. In fact, I consider myself extremely open to eating most foods, there’s not much that I don’t like the taste of.

 

After working extensively at a fully organic produce section of a health foods store, I’ve collected quite a bit of knowledge about some of the healthiest foods to eat.

 

The book and related website, World’s Healthiest Foods, is an awesome resource for anyone trying to pinpoint the healthiest foods to eat. A big shout out to WHF for cataloging  this useful information in such a fantastic way.

 

While there is a relevant time and place for Western medicine practices, it often overlooks one major thing: preventative care. This type of mindset involves thinking in terms of a long-term approach for maintaining a healthy life. And it all starts with a health-conscious diet.

After all, we’ve all heard the adage: “we are what we eat.” Well, if you eat the following vegetables you are probably very healthy!

 

Eggplant

These purple wonders are high in fiber, and extremely low in calories and fat. Eggplant contains heart healthy properties because it contains potassium and powerful antioxidants.

 

Beets And Their Greens

Beets are a great example of all around beneficial health food. When you eat beets, your heart will thank you, your blood sugar will remain level, and your digestive system will be in tip top shape. Many people don’t realize that the greens of beets actually contain more essential nutrients than the root does. So rethink tossing beet greens in the garbage, instead wash beet greens and sautee them with your favorite foods.

 

Brussels Sprouts

Why does everyone seem to hate the taste of brussels sprouts? I think the answer is simple, they haven’t prepared them in a tasty enough way! While cabbage is also healthy to eat, the miniature version, brussels sprouts, actually contain more than twice as much of vitamins A through K, as well as double the amount of calcium, iron, potassium, and protein.

 

Broccoli

While all dark green vegetables provide many vital vitamins and minerals, broccoli is especially good at preventing Type 2 Diabetes, and stomach, rectal, and lung cancers.

Sweet Potatoes

While technically related, sweet potatoes are actually only distant relatives to their more starchy cousins. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and contain more complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber than a lot of vegetables.

 

Bell Peppers

While all sweet bell peppers are tasty and full of vitamin C, the red variations are actually the most healthy of all. This is due to a high amount of lycopene in the shiny red ones. Keep in mind, lycopene content is actually increased when foods like red bell peppers and tomatoes are cooked instead of eaten raw.

Kale

While it might get a bad rap as being a bourgeois health food, kale is extremely rich in vitamin K and many other vitamins and minerals. Kale is more easily digested by your body when it is cooked. Reach for kale chips as a go to snack, or braised kale rather than raw kale salads.

 

Asparagus

Why does the asparagus stigma exist? It shouldn’t, because it strips your body of toxins. Ever wonder why urine smells so bad after you eat asparagus? It’s not a random occurrence, it has to do with the chemical found in asparagus, mercaptan, being broken down in your body. This combined with the toxins that are released from your body equate in slightly pungent pee. But aren’t you happy it’s gone?

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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The Importance of Cucumbers!

cucumbers

The Importance of Cucumbers !

 

Cucumbers contain bioactive compounds that help fight cancer, heart disease and more

From adding a crunch to your summer salad, to fighting cancer and heart disease, the humble cucumber is a great ally in your quest for optimal health. This wonderful low-calorie fruit (yes you read that right, cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit) has so much more to offer than electrolytes and water.

 

It is the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world, and has been around for ages. Originally grown in northern India around 4,000 years ago, cucumbers are part of the squash, melon and gourd family.

Cucumbers as medicine

 

As reported by The Old Farmer’s Almanac, in ancient times cucumbers were used as a medicine, rather than as food, to treat nearly everything. Recently, cucumbers have come to the attention of many modern laboratories for their potential medicinal purposes.

 

While cucumbers do not house impressive amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, they thank their superfood status to high levels of bioactive phytochemicals such as cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids.

 

Many of these compounds have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, painkilling, wound-healing and laxative properties, making cucumbers an ideal cure-all.

Cancer-fighting cucurbitacins

 

Scientists found that cucurbitacins could block the signaling pathways that are essential for cancer cell growth and survival. According to a 2010 research review published in Scientific World Journal, these findings may lead to the possibility of cucurbitacin being used as a future anticancer drug.

 

Another study, published in the Journal of Cancer Research, found that cucurbitacin B inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by up to 81 percent.

 

According to the researchers, unpurified cucurbitacins have been used for centuries as folk medicine in Asian countries such as China and India. Pancreatic cancer is poorly treated by conventional therapies. Cucurbitacin B’s ability to inhibit tumor growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis may lead to new and efficient cancer treatments to fight pancreatic cancer.

Disease-fighting lignans

 

Lignans are a unique type of polyphenols found and extensively studied in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Recent research, however, has found that other vegetables, including cucumbers, are a good source of different types of lignans too.

 

Cucumbers contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresino – three lignans associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several types of cancer. These include breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.

 

A 2010 study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, found that these three compounds could protect your heart by lowering vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.

 

Furthermore, cucumbers consist of 96 percent water, which is more than any other fruit or vegetable on our planet, making it an excellent food to keep you hydrated all day long. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, an average-sized cucumber contains the equivalent of a 10-ounce glass of water, and only adds 16 calories per cup.

 

In addition, cucumbers are well known for their ability to soothe sunburns, reduce puffy eyes and freshen the breath.

 

What are you waiting for? Start growing fresh, organic cucumbers in your own backyard or on your balcony. It’s easy, fun, chemical-free and super cheap.

 

Cucumbers are so important in reversing so many diseases and conditions.  Please call us if you have any questions or concerns, or possibly need help with a condition you or your family have.,

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

Dr. Anna Killarney

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

 

Slow Cooker Honey Bananas

honeybananas

Slow Cooker Honey Bananas

 

Need a healthy treat? These healthy slow cooker honey bananas should do the trick! Slow cooker recipes are a great option for dessert because they alleviate the need to spend hours baking in the oven. During the hot summer months, you can enjoy a sweet, fresh dessert without heating the entire kitchen up. And during the winter months, these gooey, sweet bananas taste cozy and delicious.

 

Dessert is always a challenge for people trying to eat healthy. Many options are loaded with saturated fat, refined sugar, and plenty of calories. Many dieters assume dessert is a no-no until they reach their goal weight, but eliminating all the foods they love only aggravates their sweet tooth more. Instead of cutting out all desserts, find healthy options that allow you to indulge without ruining your efforts. There are plenty of ways to turn everyday fruit into an indulgent treat without overdoing it with fat and calories.

 

Best of all, when you choose fruit for dessert, you boost your nutrition intake even more. There isn’t much good for you found in cookies, cakes, and candy, but when you incorporate fruit into your dessert, you get more vitamins and minerals into your diet. What could be better than enjoying a sweet treat AND improving your health?

 

Looking for other health dessert options? Try our selection of mini serving desserts or whip up one of these delicious dishes here or here.

 

 

Slow Cooker Honey Bananas

Minimum Slow Cooker Size: 2 quarts

 

Yields: 8 Servings | Serving Size: 1/2 Cup | Calories: 109 | Total Fat: 1 gm | Saturated Fats: 1 gm | Trans Fats: 0 gm | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 1 mg | Carbohydrates: 27 gm | Dietary fiber: 2 gm | Sugars: 18 gm | Protein: 1 gm | SmartPoints: 6 |

 

Ingredients

 

 

4 bananas

1 tablespoon coconut oil

3 tablespoon raw honey

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon crushed Cardamom Seeds

Chopped hazelnuts or almonds for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

 

Put coconut oil in slow cooker, turn on and melt if needed.

 

Peel bananas and cut diagonally in 1/2″ slices.

 

Place bananas in the slow cooker.

 

Sprinkle lemon juice and cardamom over bananas. Add honey.

 

Stir to ensure bananas well coated without breaking.

 

Cook on low for 2 hours.

 

Sprinkle with nuts if desired. enjoy!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

D Tetzlaff

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

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