Five Strategies for Women to WIN at Aging

aging women

Your body as a woman goes through a vast number of changes as you begin puberty and eventually reach menopause in your middle age. If you are living, you are aging, and while we can never stop or reverse the process through magic creams or potions, there are many cosmetic procedures that make women (and men) look younger. But looking younger is not synonymous with feeling younger, or even being younger!

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Nutrition 101: Fats

If you were around during the 1990’s, you should remember the low-fat/high-carb dietary fad that swept across the United States. Shelves were packed with “reduced fat” chips, cookies, and crackers, and while we have come along way in nutritional knowledge to know that these food items are not actually healthy for you, the public’s perception of all fat being unhealthy has still remained. Research has shown that certain types of dietary fat can improve our health, including the function and development of the brain, and lower our risk for certain diseases, including heart disease.

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We Age Every Time We Eat: Can We Do Something About It?

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Have you ever thought about fasting? While many may think of fasting as an unhealthy practice, a controlled and intermittent fasting can actually extend your life. Food has a sizable impact on the body as it affects our metabolism and influences hormonal and chemical balance. If you fast the correct way, you could see some real results in your body and weight. Processing of the food, resulting in absorption and use of the macronutrients and micronutrients, is the energy-consuming process. In fact, consuming sugary or highly-caloric foods increases oxidative stress, and results in premature aging. Continuous consumption of such foods is consistently linked to heart and vascular disease, dementia and cancer. Continue reading

A New Year Affirmation

Growing up, my dad and I had a tradition. Every year, on New Year’s eve, as the clock chimed at midnight, we would collectively focus on a single wish. It had to be a profound, most secret wish, held silently and reverently in our minds for the entire year. Yet at midnight, it was allowed to surface into our consiousness, and materialize as an affirmation. The powerful and inspiring momentum, created by the affirmation, carried us through the cold, bitter months of many winters. I was recently reminded of this by a patient, who authored powerful, health-focused affirmations to be sealed and kept by an energy healer. Continue reading

Are You Radiantly Healthy? If Not, Start with a Detox!

Recently, I listened to a talk given by Dr. Kelly Brogan, a truly inspirational and revolutionary integrative psychiatrist. “Think of someone who is radiantly healthy”, she said. And I drew a blank…since I could not think of anyone possesing such extereme level of health at all times! I did realize, however, that there are plenty of people, myself included, who possess vitality, energy, resiliance and emotional stability that are key to great and radiant health.  And while these qualities may not be there at all times, the goal should be to get yourself on a  plan that helps you to feel radiantly healthy most of the time.  In my prior post, My Winter Prep: Introduction to Six Domains of Wellness, I identified detoxification, energy repletion, hormonal optimization, micronutrient balance, sleep and stress management cycle and immunity boosting as essential pillars of wellness. In this post,  we will be looking at detoxification as a foundational pillar of wellness, your starting point on the road to radiant health!

For many of us, detoxification remains a mystery. There appears to be no shortage of solutions, everything from juicing to fasting, and in between. In a narrow sense, detoxification concerns processes of physical  and chemical elimination of toxic substances. In a broader sense, it also refers to elimination of stress, bad sleep habits, and detrimental relationships or thoughts…

Now, before it gets overwhelming, let’s start with the basics: Your Liver!

Detox-phase-1-and-2

This is a basic illustration of your liver detox properties. As you can see, virtually anything we are exposed to, is processed, and disposed off, by the liver. This amazing property of the liver to get rid off toxins by changing their biochemical properties is unique, and is impacted by various micro-nutrients and vitamins. In addition to detoxification from environmental pollutants and drugs, liver function is intricately related to cholesterol, hormone, and inflammatory mediators synthesis.

Now, lets take a look at  a more detailed diagram:Liver-Detox-Pathyways-Required-Nutrients-Image2

 

Notice a multitude of vitamins, micronutrients, and naturally occuring compounds that are assisting the liver in its important functions. The juice-based detoxes or cleanses, while providing vitamins and some co-factors, are not good sources of branched chain amino acids, quercertin, pycnogenol or CoQ10, and will not detox your liver. They will aid mostly in digestive elimination.

So, when and how should you detox?

  1. Pick time away from holidays and family visits (starting after Thanksgiving and before Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year will be very helpful to avoid holiday pounds pile on!)
  2. Prepare to eliminate caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, all dairy, all gluten (temporarily unless you are going into elimination or mitogenic food plan next)
  3. Resolve to have organic fruits and vegetables for the duration of the detox.
  4. Pick a balanced, plant-protein based, detox-focused preparation. We like to use a complete kit by Xymogen or Metagenics with our patients, based on their composition, safety track record, taste, texture, and affordability.
  5. Drink plenty of water.
  6. Do yoga or low-intensity work outs.
  7. Get at least 6 hours of sleep every night.

Remember, detoxification is only a starting point on your road to wellness. It is best to have a plan, and set your goals and objectives before committing to any wellness program.

Now, if you are wondering what I am doing the day after Thanksgiving..you are right, it is shopping!!! Followed by a 6-day detox, an energy restoration and anti-inflammatory food plan, and recalibraton of hormonal and immune interventions. More on these in subsequent posts, but for now:

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

My Winter Prep: Introduction to Six Domains of Wellness

As many of you noticed already, the weather is getting colder.

Now is the perfect time to go ahead with the winter preparations that can positively impact your wellness.

In the next few blogs, we will focus on the few essential steps to make sure you that you and yours maintain energy and stay well throughout the cold season. I called these 6 domains of wellness.

I practice what I preach. So, here is what  I am planning to focus on for myself:

  1. Detoxification
  2. Energy repletion
  3. Hormonal optimization
  4. Micro-nutrient balance
  5. Sleep and stress cycle management
  6. Immune function boosting

While there is some overlap, all of these strategies are equally important in optimizing our wellness and vitality. Many of us will be focusing on the weight loss maintenance, and trying to avoid the winter ’15” (like the “freshman 15”). However, the weight is simply a reflection of how effective your efforts  are in the 6 domains of wellness  listed above.

Here is a helpful diagram to keep it in check:

 

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In the next post, we will focus on toxic exposures and several effective detoxification strategies.

Nutritional Advice from Laury for Mother’s Day!

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Laury, our holistic nutritionst is sending over her sound nutritional advice along with the happy holiday wishes!’

The Fit in Your Genes program nutritional focus is key to our success. The blood sugar  and hormonal stabilization are important strategies that work in both genders. However, women especially benefit from the normalization of blood sugar. Women are more prone to the issues caused by fluctuating sugar levels due to less lean body mass and higher visceral adiposity as compared to men. Both of these anatomical differences make the impact of blood sugar more prominent. In fact, among diabetic patients with heart issues, women tend to fare far worse than men. So, as you are celebrating, remember that a lot less sugar will give you a lot more health!

Meal Ideas

Breakfast

  • cottage cheese, berries, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, raw veggies
  • scrambled eggs, sauteed greens, sliced avocado
  • oatmeal, whey protein powder, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, nuts, almond milk

Snack

  • apple, almond butter
  • hummus, raw veggies
  • hard boiled egg, celery sticks

Lunch

  • mixed greens salad, avocado, grilled salmon or chicken, pumpkin seeds, olive oil & lemon dressing
  • lentil, cabbage & tomato dal
  • curry chicken salad on bed of mixed greens

Snack

  • homemade trail mix
  • orange slices and walnuts
  • healthy protein bar

The Fit in Your Genes Program uses medical foods validated at the Joselyn Diabetes Center (Harvard Medical School) to help our patients with weight loss and sugar control. When used in conjunction with sensible diet, results are truly remarkable. Our regimen includes supplements that help with cravings, and restore energy. Follow our posts, and learn about our exciting developments in addressing weight loss and metabolic issues in women (and, of course, men!).

Fit in Your GENES Spring Reset for Wellness

Now that the weather is finally improving, and the  spring flowers are popping up all over, all of us are looking to renew our energy, feel more vital, and lose the unwanted pounds of fat. At the Integrative Cardiology Center of Long Island, we are re-energized and inspired by the continued growth of the Fit in Your GENES program, and are excited to introduce you to our Spring Reset for Wellness!

Fit in Your GENES is a ground-breaking wellness solution to address altered body chemistry that leads to chronic inflammation, the root cause of heart disease, and many other chronic conditions such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia and obesity. The opportunity to develop a personalized, genetically-guided  lifestyle plan is now greater than ever. The Spring Reset for Wellness is building on the core features of the program to enhance and fast-forward our weight loss and wellness effort, including a special focus on naturally balancing hormones in women.

We are especially proud to have Laury Anderson, a certified holistic nutritionist, to join our practice. Laury brings a wealth of experience, and a tremendous passion for the “Food as Medicine” philosophy to help our patients get to their goals. She will be available for consults starting April 20th. 

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Laury Anderson R.N., M.A., NC is a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist who  has a Masters Degree in Human Development, Specializing in Holistic Counseling and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She is a graduate from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Santa Cruz, California.  Laury has 20+ years of experience in the health field with an emphasis on holistic approaches to wellness, health education and preventive care.

“Food As Medicine” is the philosophy at the heart of Laury’s practice.  As a Board Certified Nutrition Consultant, Laury’s objective is to assist clients in optimizing their bodies healing power through education and implementation of a “food first” approach to health and wellness. 

Laury believes every person has a powerful and innate ability to heal.  The food we eat is not just food, but information for the body that helps us harness this healing power and help thwart disease.  Laury has additional diversified cooking skills, training and certification from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.  She is a registered member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

We are very excited to welcome Laury to our practice! Please, feel free to contact Kamini at 516-746-1103 for more information.

 

Are You Skinny Fat?

Obesity continues to be strongly associated with multiple chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, lipid abnormalities, and heart disease. It also strongly contributes to development of certain types of cancer. The rates of obesity are alarmingly high in young children and adolescents, and, unfortunately, continue to rise. According to the AHA/ACC and The Obesity Society Guidelines released in 2013, obesity continues to be defined as measurement of the body mass index, or BMI.  Using BMI, overweight is defined as BMI of 25 kg/m2 to 29.9 kg/m2 and obesity as a BMI of 30 kg/m2 . Current estimates are that 69% of adults are either overweight or obese, with approximately 35% obese. The estimated cost of obesity related complications exceeded $147 billion in 2008.

However, estimating obesity by BMI tells only part of the story. A muscular individual may have a BMI exceeding 30kg/m2, due to a much higher water (and weight) content associated with skeletal muscle. More relevant to the cardiac risk associated with obesity are the measurements of waist circumference. It is generally accepted that the waist circumference should not exceed 35 inches in women, and 41 inches in men. These numbers are 1-2 inches smaller for individuals of European, Asian, or Hispanic descent.

A fascinating and powerful concept in understanding obesity goes beyond  these numbers and involves a  body impedance analysis, or BIA. Using the BIA, a percent of fat deposited in the abdominal cavity (visceral fat) can be distinguished from a more superficial fat distribution. Only visceral fat is associated with elevated risk for heart disease. A 2004 study in The New England Journal of Medicine convincingly demonstrated that removing superficial fat, such as with liposuction, does not alter risks for diabetes or  heart disease. Unlike superficial fat, visceral fat may be present unseen in a skinny person, and increases their risk of insulin resistance and heart disease. The accumulation of visceral fat drives inflammation, contributes to oxidative stress, and disrupts hormonal and immune regulation.

The  diminish visceral fat, an anti-inflammatory diet, supplements, in combination with workouts (moderate intensity but consistent) work to reverse the inflammation, and normalize internal fat metabolism, and, thus, its distribution.  Unfortunately, in our appearance-based society, many fail to see that “skinny” does not always imply “healthy”. Quiet a few skinny people are in fact “skinny fat”, with deposits of visceral fat driving their sugar and lipids into abnormal range. Visceral fat also traps a lot of toxins, including so called persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and this exacerbates ongoing inflammation by disruption of nutrient absorption.

What should you do? If you have access to the BIA machine, often found in gyms or physician offices, consider getting a reading done. A functional medicine physician can perform the BIA, and review the report in conjunction with your blood work. This assessment, while relatively simple, is a crucial step in understanding your metabolic circumstances, and putting your personal genetic information in perspective.

 

Genetic Switches Play a Key Role in The Inflammatory Arthritis and Bowel Diseases

This blog post is the first in the series called “The Inflammation Age”. Follow the series to learn more about functional and integrative medicine approach to heart health, and the impact it may have on your health, vitality and longevity.

 

In the ground-breaking study, researchers at the National Institutes of Health identified DNA elements that function to turn on the genes responsible for chronic and debilitating inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. These powerful switches, called DNA “super-enhancers” are the key finding in unraveling the complexity of environmental-genetic interactions underlying inflammatory diseases:

“Identifying autoimmune disease susceptibility genes can be a challenge because in most cases a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors is involved. Genetic studies have shown that people with autoimmune diseases possess unique genetic variants, but most of the alterations are found in regions of the DNA that do not carry genes. Scientists have suspected that the variants are in DNA elements called enhancers, which act like switches to control gene activities.”

We have known for some time that inflammation is a fundamental common pathway that functions in development and progression of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and even cardiac arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation. The genetic “switches” are turned on by the environmental and toxic exposures, lifestyle factors (such as exercise, stress and nutrition) to usher in a cascade of events that eventually results in overt expression of disease. By the time these diseases and symptoms come to medical attention, the changes on a deeper, biochemical level, may have become irreversible, and even heritable. An emerging science of epigenetics and metabolomics is exploring these phenomena. However, even at such a late stage, integrative approach may be of benefit. Focusing on relationships of genetic factors and lifestyle and environmental exposures, and modifying the metabolic environment of the body, is a powerful strategy for prevention AND treatment of heart disease and risk factors.

The metabolic portal provides a unique and powerful solution in identifying and managing your inflammation, and its role on various body systems. Fundamentally, it provides a way to maximize your anti-aging opportunity. Many people mistakenly focus most of their effort on their appearance, whether it includes aggressive workouts and restrictive diets to accomplish weight loss, cosmetic procedures, or using supplements or diets endorsed by various celebrities. While some of these efforts will bear fruit, the long term, durable results are very unlikely. The true anti-aging effort involves intense, coordinated focus on fighting inflammation by identifying and correcting an individual’s metabolic disturbances. Once these corrections take hold, all else falls into place:2491-health-1100024705-10182013 the heroic efforts are not needed, the “yo-yo” weight loss/weight re-gain cycle stops, mood and vitality improve. There is just one catch: this approach requires commitment, persistence, and participation. In the next post in this series, we will explore how traditional and functional medicine models are different in their approach to chronic disease, and how you can find your wellness zone.