You are not alone. I am not talking about your connections with your family and community or alien attacks. I am talking about in your own body. Within our own flesh we have a community of interdependent organisms that are working in concert to help maintain our health and functioning. The name given to this community is the microbiome (micro – small, biome – community of organisms) and it is increasingly becoming a source of interest in the scientific and popular media. This week I would like to talk about the microbiome. There is a lot of speculation about the potential importance of the microbiome in affecting everything from allergies and eczema to arthritis and weight loss. While these concepts are only beginning to be understood, it is clear that the microbiome and caring for it does have important implications for our health. Read on to find out what you can do to keep the community inside of you functioning its best.
Many of us (including myself) have regular cravings for sweet foods. In limited quantities, sweets may be something that are a manageable and sustainable part of our daily food intake. However, because these foods can be so habit forming and are so widely available many of us find ourselves eating more of these foods then we would like. There are many potentially negative health effects of eating a diet that contains moderate to high levels of processed sugars. Most of us are familiar with concerns about excess calories and weight gain. However, there is increasing evidence, that sugar (and other processed sweeteners) can have negative impacts on our mood and may play a role in increased depression.
Many of us are concerned as we get older that our memory ‘is just not what it used to be’. Some age related change in memory can be normal. As we get older, it is more likely that we will notice some loss in our short-term memory – our ability to readily recall information that was recently learned. We may find ourselves forgetting the name of the person we were just introduced to or not remembering where we put our keys. Long-term memory – the ability to recall events that are many years past is not as affected by aging. Dementia is a term used to describe a serious form of memory loss that goes beyond what is normally seen with aging. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in the U.S. While the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, research has some clues to perhaps lower our chances of developing this devastating condition and ways that we can improve and sustain a healthy memory. Here are some strategies to keep your memory strong.
[caption id="attachment_16358" align="alignleft"]The food we eat and the spices we add really can be some of our best medicine. – PhotoXpress[/caption]Spices can be a great way to improve the taste of food and increase food’s health benefits. Flavors provided by spices can decrease the use of salt and fat in dishes without compromising taste. Spices can also be a rich source of nutrients and trace minerals that we may be missing in other areas of our diet. Many spices are thought to have properties that can improve health and function in a wide variety of ways. While all of these effects may not have been proven in rigorously conducted scientific studies, they do have the wisdom of hundreds (if not thousands) of years of traditional use. The food we eat and the spices we add really can be some of our best medicine. With some basic knowledge you can start utilizing the benefits of a little added spice today. Let’s get started.
When discussing food choices, one of the first questions I often ask is “What do you drink?”. One of the more common answers that I have been getting lately is that people are drinking a lot of ‘tea’. Often the tea that is being referred to is a sweetened (or sometimes sugar-free) bottled beverage. Many people will often drink several cups or bottles of ‘tea’ per day. Often, they tell me that they are drinking tea because they see it as a healthier alternative to soda. This week we talk about tea, and some of the beverages out there that pass for tea and provide some information about what is known about tea and its health benefits.