This is a fun time of year because it’s not only easier for people to make healthier food choices, it’s easy to find fun, healthy foods. Have you checked out your local farmers markets and food co-ops? If not, this is a great time to locate those nearest in preparation for your summer food shopping. A fun, easy and very healthy food to begin with is “fruit” it’s sweet, delicious and easy on the digestive system. Which is good for those who battle digestive issues such as IBS and IBDs. We’re less likely to crave comfort foods this time of year, so consuming more fruit is a great way to begin our day and a great way to wrap it up, by eating nice healthy fruit filled desserts. Fruit has incredible healing benefits, offering enzymes, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and cancer fighting tannins & flavonoids. For us Ankylosing Spondylitis & Autoimmune Arthritis Sufferers, fruit also offers amazing anti-inflammatory properties, while reducing pain and swelling. According to the Article: Inflammation and Foods That Fight via Arthritis Today, it is very important to consume a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables routinely for best results. This is one of many steps toward achieving and maintaining a healthy “holistic” lifestyle. By eating fruit we reduce inflammation, pain and swelling, while increasing energy levels and wellness. We also reduce the likelihood of developing age-related and degenerative diseases such as certain types of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. We also enjoy the added benefit of improving skin appearance, our moods and mental sharpness. Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory & low-glycemic fruits are: berries, cherries, apples, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, plums & of course pears. What is your favorite fruit? Enjoy your summer even more by adding healthy, delicious fruit to your diet!
There is now neuroscience research that support yoga’s positive effects on anxiety, stress and depression. As the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga does this mean that one day your doctor just might prescribe yoga for what’s ailing you?
We’ve heard about the amazing healing effects of meditative techniques such as relaxation, meditation and yoga for many years, including how these reduce the activity of the autonomic nervous system, alleviating stress-related maladies, including migraines, anxiety and depression, among others. Now there’s additional medical research available to back these claims. Dr. Chris C. Streeter Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine practices yoga and conducts research on its effects.
Dr. Streeter conducted a study with doctors of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, comparing two groups of exercisers (group 1) people doing yoga and (group 2) people walking. After 12-weeks, those in the yoga group showed greater improvements in their mood and anxiety levels compared to the walkers, and there was a positive correlation between increased Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA levels were measured through brain imaging, and improved mood. The results of her study latest study is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinein 2010.
There is an estimated 20 million Americans practicing yoga. It’s no wonder that yoga and alternative therapies have shown up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country, including Boston University, Dr. Rob Saper of BU a former burned out medical student in the 80′s took a year off to study at Kripalu, the yoga retreat in western, Massachusetts, which he says, inspired him to “try to change medical education and medical care in a way that’s more wholistic” with an emphasis on self-care. Medical students at BU learn of yoga’s research-based benefits, in hopes that these future doctors will be able to exploit their knowledge to help patients as they become comfortable enough to include this alternative therapy in their evidence-based practice (EBP), perhaps one day prescribing yoga as they would Prozac or even pain killers.
Thanks to much research, the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga among other natural and alternative healing methods, this is a wonderful news for those of us with who live with invisible chronic illnesses, and their multitude of symptoms, and many of which we might choose to manage naturally. Yoga is also great for chronic pain, it also lowers levels of inflammatory proteins, and helps with many other ailments. As an avid yogi and sufferer of Ankylosing Spodylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction, I for one look forward to seeing yoga or even acupuncture appear on doctor’s electronic prescription pads. Perhaps doing so will garner even more support from insurance companies, hopefully making alternative treatments affordable and accessible to everyone.
Amino Acids are protein building blocks and proteins are the building blocks of life itself. There are 20 which are crucial to human heath, relating to growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Nine of these amino acids are considered essential and required through proper nutrition, which will enable the body to produce the required protein. These are: leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine and histidine. The eleven non-essential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Many non-essential amino acids may not be required for protein building, but through much research it has been discovered that they are instrumental in healing and relieving symptoms of many conditions, thus used therapeutically. Many with chronic health conditions often have deficiencies of both essential & non-essential amino acids. Conditions and symptoms such as, Allergies, Ulcers, Anemia, Osteoarthritis, Autoimmune Arthritis such as Rhumatoid Arthritis & AS, lupus, cerebral palsy, certain cancers, depression, cognitive issues, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, associated with CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome), musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBD, ADD (attention deficit disorder) & ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), as well as others. Amino acids work synergistically with many drugs and treatments, so interactions are not ordinarily a concern, but if you have decided to supplement with amino acids, your doctor should be informed. A few Therapeutic aminos are L-histidine, L-Carnitine, L-Taurine & L-Tyrosine. L-Trosine is often low in individuals battling depression, as well as those suffering with kidney disease. L-Theanin is found in green tea and is said to help relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety, while enhancing focus and concentration. Which is perfect for those who are cognitively challenged, as with ADD & ADHD, Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyaglia.
Nine of the essential amino acids can be found in protein rich foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products. Plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits and grains, will only provide some of the nine essential amino acids. For this reason, a vegetarian diet should be balanced to ensure that amino acids are derived from all parts of the diet. Vegetable sources of protein such as nuts, beans, and grains are incredibly healthy, because they not only provide amino acids, but additional nutrients such as fiber, vitamins A and C.
If you are able to eat and digest protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, seafood & dairy products then you are more than likely getting your required amounts of amino acids. However keep in mind that many chronic health conditions can prevent absorption of many vitamins, minerals and amino acids through food intake, so supplementing might be required. Since our protein requirements are actually lower than most people consume, below are many fruit & vegetables sources of amino acids which you can easily add to your existing diet:
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a low-starch or low-carb food friendly list, rather its to provide overall information on foods which are high in amino acids.
Alanine – Main source being alfalfa, but also found in: celery, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, turnips, green pepper, spinach, plums, apples, guavas, grapes, oranges, almonds and strawberries.
Arginine – alfalfa, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beetroots, cucumber, celery, lettuce, radishes and potatoes.
Aspartic acid – carrots, celery, radishes, cucumber, mint, tomatoes, turnips, lemons, grapefruit, apples, plums, pineapples, melons and almonds.
Cystine – alfalfa, beet roots, carrots, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, garlic, apples, pineapples, raspberries, raisins.
Glutamic acid – found in carrots, turnips, cabbages, celery, beetroots, mint, lettuce, spinach and papaya.
Glycine – carrots, turnips, celery, mint, alfalfa, spinach, garlic, potatoes, figs, oranges, raspberries, pomegranates, melons and almonds.
Histidine – radishes, carrots, cucumber, beetroots, celery, garlic, onions, turnips, alfalfa, spinach, pineapples, apples, pomegranates and papaya.
Hydroxy glutamic acid – carrots, mint, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, grapes, raspberries, plums.
Hydroxy praline – carrots, lettuce, beetroots, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, radishes, grapes, olives, pineapples, almonds and coconut.
Lodogorgoic acid – carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce and pineapple.
Isoleucine – papaya, olives, coconuts, almonds, apricots, pistachios and walnuts.
Leucine – coconuts, almonds, apricots, papaya, olives, pistachios and walnuts.
Lysine – carrots, cucumber, beetroots, mint, celery, spinach, turnips, alfalfa, germinates soyabeans, plums, pears, papaya, apple and grapes.
Methionine – cabbages, garlic, cauliflower, pineapples and apples.
Norleucine ( NLE a form of lucine)
Phenylalanine – carrots, beetroots, spinach, mint, tomatoes, pineapples and apples.
Proline –carrots, beetroots, lettuce, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, grapes, olive, oranges, pineapples, coconuts and almonds.
Serine –radishes, garlic, onion, carrots, beetroots, celery, cucumber, mint, spinach, cabbage, alfalfa, papaya, apples and pineapples.
Threonine – carrots, green leafy vegetables, alfalfa and papaya.
Thyroxine – carrots, celery, lettuce, turnips, spinach, tomatoes and pineapples.
Tryptophane – beetroots, carrots, celery, spinach, alfalfa and turnips.
Tyrosine – alfalfa, carrots, beetroots, cucumber, lettuce, mint, spinach, green pepper, plums, strawberries, cherries, apples, melons, figs and almonds.
Valine – carrots, turnips, sweet gourd, celery, mint, beetroots, tomatoes, apples, pomegranates and almonds.
When supplementing look for free form amino acids and you’ll want products with a full amino acid profile, many will read “amino acid complex.” such as with protein powders or protein drinks. Amino acids work synergistically with vitamins and minerals, thus working naturally with our bodies. Though it is preferred that we obtain vitamins, minerals, as well as amino acids through our diet, when we are chronically sick or have malabsorption issues such as those related to chronic inflammation & IBD, supplementing just might be required. Be careful of taking excessive amounts of amino acids and be sure to follow label instructions.
Food based Amino Acid Supplements: Braggs Liquid Aminos NON-GMO soy (contains 16 amino acids/8 essential.) This product is great to use in place of regular and potentially GMO contaminated soy sauce. Should not be cooked or heated.
Coconut Aminos by Coconut Secrets contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids. Nutrient-dense, certified organic, dairy free, gluten-free, soy-free and raw-vegan friendly.
By ensuring that you are eating foods that are high in amino acids, or that you are supplementing via a well balanced protein powder or free form amino acids, you are improving your chances for optimal health, greater energy, strength, recovery, improved muscle definition, beautiful skin, better mood, better memory and enhanced brain function. Incredibly beneficial in combating fibrofog, pain and stiffness relating to Ankylosing Spondylitis and the multitude of symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, including depression.
Amino Acids, Angelo P John research based on amino acid cancer therapy, amino acid, amino food guide courtesy of Naturopathy for Perfect Health. The Healing Power of Organic, Real Food, Superfoods & Whole Foods, Nutritional, Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Starch & Inflammation Friendly Recipes