Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: Physical Activity In Our Daily Lives

2015-03-30 20.32.59Carpe diem. When it comes to exercising, the demands of every day life are often to blame for bringing this noble goal to a screeching halt. However, while we may not have 1-2 hours to dedicate to daily gym workouts, we have 24 hours in each and every day where we can incorporate more physical activity into our daily routines. And studies have shown that even short bursts of physical activity throughout the day can have a cumulative benefit, at any age.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: To Incorporate Physical Activity Into Our Daily

Why is physical activity important? Our bodies were meant to move. Staying active has been shown to increase our lifespan; strengthen our muscles and bones; stay at a healthy weight; sleep better; and improve our mood. And, if we do not make time for exercise we will likely have to find time for illness. A sedentary lifestyle increases our risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and stroke.

What is a sedentary lifestyle? A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity.

How can I turn sit time into fit time?

• While watching television, pedal on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill. Alternatively, consider doing pushups, sit ups, lifting weights (or water bottles), or doing jumping jacks during commercial breaks. One mother told me that it was a family rule to dance around when there was a commercial. If anyone was caught sitting on the couch, they were assigned an additional chore, so everyone made sure to cha-cha-cha. Another trick is to side-line the remote control and get up to change the channel.

• During our kid’s sports games, instead of sitting, pace the sidelines.

• While making and returning phone calls, walk on the treadmill, stand up, move around, stretch, or practice our balance by standing on one foot at a time. How can I move more at home…and save money?

• Gardening can burn lots of calories: raking, mowing, pulling weeds, digging, and planting.

• Housework is no sedentary matter. Between vacuuming, sweeping, picking up things, doing laundry, or making our beds, calories are sure to be burnt.

What can I do when I go shopping?

• Instead of spending 5-10 minutes looking for the closest parking spot near the front door of the store, park as far away as possible, and walk briskly to the door.

• While at the mall, take laps. In addition to being perfectly climate controlled (not too hot, not too cold), there is lots to see and discover.

• At the grocery or drug store, walk through every aisle. And if we are carrying a basket, do biceps curls and make sure to alternate arms.

What can I do while I am sitting in traffic or at a stoplight?

• Core workout. Consider placing our hands against the roof of our car, pushing up with our arms, and squeezing our abs at the same time for 10 seconds. This technique can strengthen the arms, shoulders, back, and core.

• Crush the steering wheel. While stopped at a red light, grip the wheel at opposite ends, and try to push our hands toward each other for 3 seconds. Then try to pull your hands away from each other for 3 seconds.

• Stretching. Slowly rotate our neck in a circle; place our ear to our shoulder and alternate; move our chin to our chest and then straighten. Shoulder shrugs can also be performed in both the forward and backward direction.

What can we do to increase our physical activity during the workday?

• Walk around or stand while brainstorming project ideas with coworkers, giving presentations, or making phone calls. And, instead of shooting an email or calling someone within the building, go visit them in person.

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator, whenever possible.

• During breaks, personify the Madagascar song “I Like to Move It.” Walk around or within the building, stretch, or do leg lifts or lunges. Look for creative ways to avoid spending the entire break sitting.

• If possible, get a stand-up desk, or a treadmill where a laptop can be secured.

• Measure up with a pedometer. This can help keep track of how active we are. The goal should be to take at least 7,000 steps in a day.

Physical activity is one of the best prescriptions to improve our overall health and fitness while decreasing our risk for many chronic diseases. As we work to find ways to balance regular exercise with our hectic schedules, let’s also find creative ways to incorporate physical activities within our daily routine. We should heed the advice of Frank Forencich: “Warning: Before beginning a program of physical inactivity, consult your doctor. Sedentary living is…dangerous for your health.”

For more news on Dr. Radcliff: Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

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Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Mental Aerobics

I never could understand why the characters in the play Waiting for Godot continued to…wait for Godot. Similarly, when it comes to a pharmaceutical cure for Alzheimer’s dementia, I share the same sentiment. There are things we can (and I believe, must) do now to fend off and slow down this debilitating and fatal disease.

When nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally, our memory, behavior, and ability to think clearly are affected. We become unable to recognize family members or care for ourselves. Even basic things such as chewing and swallowing or walking can be impaired. Alzheimer’s dementia affects 15 million Americans, almost half of our residents over the age of 85 years, and is the 6th leading cause of death. Despite these statistics, it’s not “trendy” to discuss, there is no Alzheimer’s awareness month, and there is no cure. Let’s look at things we can do in the meantime so we are not disappointed if Godot doesn’t arrive.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: To Help Prevent, Slow Down, And Possibly Reverse Alzheimer’s Symptoms

1. Regular exercise can protect against Alzheimer’s dementia by up to 60% and it can even slow down further deterioration in those who already have it. Just like our biceps, abdominal and heart muscles benefit from physical activity, so does our brain. A world of good can come to us when we exercise just 150 minutes a week, the approximate length of a movie.

Some tips include starting off slowly, even 10 minutes at a time; doing an activity we enjoy like walking, swimming laps, bicycling, playing tennis, gardening, or jogging; breaking up activity throughout the day; making it a group activity with family and friends.

2. A “brain healthy” eating plan provides our noggin with the right balance of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants while avoiding saturated fats and cholesterol. In order for our brains to remain in tip-top condition we need to provide the best fuel possible. Brain healthy eating should be thought of as a lifelong marathon, not a sprint.

3. Mental stimulation, “use-it-or-lose-it,” mental aerobics. Whatever we may want to call it, ‘exercising’ our minds is like depositing money in a savings account in anticipation of a rainy day. Consider learning something new like a language, skill or hobby, or studying a period in history we have been curious about. People who play games such as puzzles, crosswords, cards and checkers at least every other day have been shown to maintain sharper thinking skills and a decreased risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

4. Quality sleep. As Benjamin Franklin stated: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Research has shown that when young and middle-aged adults suffer from insomnia, they increase their risk for developing Alzheimer’s down the road. Not getting enough sleep can increase a protein known as amyloid beta that is found in Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, good quality sleep allows our brains to rest and rejuvenate. This equates to memory consolidation, much like our computers do when we back them up. Let’s follow proper sleep hygiene–the rituals and routines that we undergo, much like getting a baby to fall asleep.

5. Active social life. Having friends allows us to share our joys and sorrows, exchange ideas and advice, and celebrate. However, as we age, our children leave our homes and we retire from the workforce. This can make it difficult to maintain an active social life. Consider volunteering at a charitable organization; join a club or social group; meet your neighbors; call friends on the phone or email; or take a group class at the gym or community college.

Godot may never literally arrive, much like a cure for Alzheimer’s dementia. However, proven lifestyle changes can keep our brain cells healthy and functioning longer. It is widely shared by many that the best medicine we can take is that of prevention. Afterall, why fix something if we don’t have to break it? Perhaps Godot has arrived and has been sitting in front of us all along. We just didn’t know what Godot looked like.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina Radcliff’s 7 New Year’s Resolutions

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff & Photos by K. Cecchini

How many of us can look back at 2014 and say that we feel as though we starred in the spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly?” Though I am no Clint Eastwood, I for one, can. As we take down our Christmas stockings, many of us find ourselves taking stock of ourselves and seeking improvement (or redemption) with our New Year’s Resolutions. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Here’s a look at my 7 resolutions.

1. To not have to see these resolutions on my list next year. Did you know that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions? To improve my chances, I will draw a clear map to help me reach my destination without getting lost. In other words, I will create an easy-to-follow plan and hold myself accountable, quarterly.

2. Love myself. I’ve heard many variations of this sentiment, but if we are not good at loving ourselves, we will have a difficult time loving anyone. We will resent the time and energy we give another person that we aren’t even giving to ourselves. In other words, set the tone and the standard.

3. Put things in perspective. “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.” Still not convinced? How about “If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.” Signed, sealed and delivered: “If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation vou are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.”

4. Gratitude journal. I recently started chronicling–every morning and every night–at least three things that I am grateful for. It has been shown that there are a number of health benefits when we have a genuine feeling of gratitude: better sleep and eating, increased energy and lifespan, and decreased overall illness and depression.

5. Get some “ZZZ’s.” Not having a good night’s sleep can make even the best morph into the Incredible Hulk. There is also a Catch 22 with sleep and caffeine consumption; we drink caffeine to keep us alert, but then it keeps us awake at night. In 2015, my goal is to stay Dr. David Banner by removing the sleep wreckers that surround me. Bye bye Lou Ferrigno.

6. Tech cleanse. I admit, I used to be a “tech-a-holic.” My day begins with an eye-opener of checking my email, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t check my emails and texts right before going to bed, and throughout the day. I have almost been hit by a car (on more than one occasion) because I was texting while walking across the street. I began recognizing and making changes in 2014, and will continue to unplug and power down in 2015.

7. Protect the skin I’m in. A year back, I had moles that needed to be biopsied. Fortunately, they were negative. But did you know that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States with one in five people developing it over their lifetime! More shockingly, one American dies from skin cancer EVERY HOUR! To that extent, I vow to cover up, spread on sunscreen, not let the weather fool me (ultraviolet lights are present even during the winter months), and get annual skin exams. Hopefully, we can label 2015 as “The Good,” and continue to shed the bad and the ugly. Our chances will improve greatly if we make an active, deliberate effort, along with looking at things through rose-colored glasses and holding ourselves accountable. In addition to remembering to write 2015 instead of 2014 as the date, let’s resolve to be awesome.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff: Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Drinking, Our Safety and Our Health

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff & Photos by K. Cecchini

Many of us will be raising our glasses to toast “new dreams, new days, new desires, and new ways” for the New Year. It is a time to reminisce about the past and hope for the future. While it is always important to moderate alcohol intake, it is especially important at this time of the year where there are more opportunities to drink. Let’s take a look at some important facts about alcohol that may help us make wise decisions.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Drinking, Our Safety and Our Health

What affect does alcohol have on our bodies? It has a temporary stimulant effect where we may feel upbeat and excited. However, alcohol soon adversely affects our reaction time, inhibitions, and judgment. As more alcohol is consumed, we may see slurred speech and loss of balance. And at high levels, it can alter one’s state of being or consciousness as well as function as a depressant making a person sleepy and even pass out.

Does alcohol have calories? Alcohol is not a zero calorie drink. Approximate calorie counts are as follows: beer 150 calories; wine 125 calories; champagne 85 calories; 1.5 ounce of vodka, whiskey, rum, or gin 100 calories; martinis 125 calories; margaritas 170 calories; and pina coladas 500 calories. Additionally, because alcohol inhibits our judgment, we are more likely to choose high calorie, high fat, and high cholesterol foods.

Does alcohol have an effect on the medications I take? It has the potential to make some medications less effective, not work at all, and, even, harmful. In particular, alcohol can intensify the drowsiness caused by anti-anxiety medications, narcotics, and sleeping aids. It may even stop your breathing and become deadly! Always read warning labels and speak with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if it is safe to use alcohol with the medications and supplements that you take.

How can I speed up the clearance of alcohol? Only time can clear alcohol from our system; consuming caffeinated drinks does NOT serve as an antidote. Additionally, even after someone has their last drink, alcohol within the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream.

What are some drunk driving statistics? Every year there are over 10,000 preventable, unnecessary, tragic deaths due to drunk driving. And during the holiday season the number increases. Approximately 1200 people die during the holiday season; this equates to nearly 45 people each day. And another 25,000 people will suffer from injuries due to drunk driving.

What happens if I get a DUI? Driving under the influence carries heavy penalties including: fines, fees, and surcharges; license suspension; ignition interlock devices (a mechanism, like a breathalyzer, installed on a motor vehicle’s dashboard that prevents the ignition from starting); jail time; and community service.

Here are some tips I have gathered from events I have attended to keep the cheer while making sure guests remain safe:

Move “last call” up. When offering alcoholic beverages, serve them early and then switch to nonalcoholic as the night goes on.
• Spice it up. Nonalcoholic drinks can be fun and yummy. This allows designated drivers to tickle their palate and have a good time. Additionally, guests who are drinking can mix in tasty, festive nonalcoholic drinks to prevent getting drunk.
• Designated host. Choose a host ahead of time who will not drink. This way they can help notice if any of the guests drink too much and need to be “cut off.” They can also collect keys when guests arrive and assess their condition before returning them. By watching for changes, you can learn a lot about any guest’s level of intoxication. Examples include: being overly friendly, unfriendly, depressed, or quiet; using foul language or becoming loud; drinking faster or switching to larger or stronger drinks; or staggering, stumbling, or bumping into objects.
• Provide options. Whether you offer your guests a sleeping bag or couch to crash on overnight, arrange for a taxi, or create a designated driver system to return them home, be prepared. Having several options available makes it easier to encourage guests to do the right thing.
• Food. Foods that are high in protein remain in our stomachs longer. As a result, it can slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into our systems. Consider having a good variety of meats, cheese, and nuts.
• Variety. Avoid making alcohol the main focus by providing music, dancing, games, and yummy food.

What if I am attending a party? If you are going to have a drink, designate a driver or have an alternate form of transportation ahead of time. Set safe, realistic goals when it comes to how many drinks you will have, and stick to it. If you typically have one drink and that is enough, this is not the time to be an overachiever. Additionally, pace yourself by avoiding drinking too much, too early. You may miss out on the Times Square ball dropping or that special kiss.

As we celebrate the New Year, let’s make wise decisions when it comes to drinking. Afterall we have lots to do as we enter 2015 and “…open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Happy New Years – and Best Wishes for a year filled with more of your dreams coming to life!

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: To Kick That Sugar Addiction to The Curb

Help! I’m Addicted to Sugar

I am a sugar-holic: I crave it, I indulge in it, and I lose control. While sugar is in no way nicotine or other street drugs, it is possible to be addicted to sugar. Our sweet tooth (in my case, plural, sweet “teeth”) stems from the reality that sugar can hack into an area of our brain that releases “feel good” hormones. These hormones were designed to help us survive and provide a reward mechanism, similar to when we see someone we love. That makes sense, like Cookie Monster, “Me love cookies…and all things sweet.”

Although sugar is sweet to our taste buds, it can sour our health. Added sugar can pack on the pounds and cause associated problems of obesity, including diabetes. More recently, researchers have discovered that added sugar, on its own, regardless of other health problems, can more than double the risk of death from heart disease!

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: To Kick That Sugar Addiction to The Curb

Cold Turkey Or Gradual Wean? We are talking about sugar, not crack. Because it is not immediately harmful or deadly, we can afford to kick the habit gradually. Like the turtle and the hare, slow and steady will win the race, and make it more likely that we will stick with it.

Knowing is Half the Battle One of my greatest life lessons came from the cartoon GI Joe. On that note, knowing that when you first start cutting back on sugar, you may feel tired or edgy can help you get through this temporary rough patch. Not to fret; it is a short rocky patch on the road to better health.

Sugar Highs Our blood sugar levels, and “feel good” hormones, skyrocket after consuming soda, cookies, and cake. This party, or “high” is cut short because our bodies respond by releasing the hormone insulin. Insulin moves glucose from our blood into our cells and drops our blood sugar levels. This can make us “crash” and feel shaky. We try to get “high” again by eating more sweets, and literally and figuratively, feed our addiction.

Fruit & Fiber: Satisfy your sweet tooth (or teeth) with fruit. Although fruit contains simple sugars, it also contains vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber which can slow the process. Fiber delays the absorption of sugar and decreases the sugar highs and consequent lows. Additionally, fiber makes our tummies feel full and can decrease the number of calories we consume.

Instead of reaching for that cookie, indulge with a banana, apple, mango, pear, or pineapple; the list goes on. Consider blending fruit with nonfat yogurt for a fun and healthy treat. And for the kids, or the kids at heart, make popsicles!

Dehydration Sometimes what we perceive as a sugar craving may really be thirst. So reach for a glass or two of water the next time you crave for sugar.

Brush Your Toothsies And rinse with mouthwash. The clean, mouth-refreshing taste from toothpaste and mouthwash will make many sweets taste bad.

Get Your ZZZ’s Not getting a good night’s sleep can make a “sober” sugar addict relapse, or “fall off the wagon.” Sleep deprivation sends our hormones out of whack and makes us crave for high calorie, high sugar foods.

Move It We often hear the term “work up an appetite.” But did you know that exercising can actually reduce our appetite rather than increase it? It sounds like a win-win: burning calories and eating less.

Watch Out For Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing Sugar comes in many forms and names, including glucose, sucrose, brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and dextrose. Additionally, foods that do not taste sweet can be loaded with sugar; for example, ketchup, pasta sauce, bread, pasta, and rice. To avoid them, read the nutrition labels.

“Dear Mr. Cookie, Me am writing this to you. And Me hope that you understand. Me heart beats like a hammer. You make Me stutter and Me stammer. But it’s time for Me to say farewell to yee. Me wanna stay stealthy and Me realizes you make me unhealthy.” Excuse my improvising but it is important to admit it, understand it, and say good bye to sugar addiction. Kick it to the curb – you will be healthier every step of the way!

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Food & Depression

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff/Photos by k. Cecchini

“The food you eat can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ~Ann Wigmore. The link between food and our physical health is well known. What we put into our mouths can either help protect us from, or increase our risk for, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke—the number one, two, and three killers in America. But did you know that what we eat and drink can affect our mental health? Studies have proven that a healthy diet can help decrease our risk for depression as well as become an important part of a holistic approach to treat it. In our desire to be healthy, both physically and mentally, let’s revisit the saying “we are what we eat.” And let’s opt for healthy!

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Food and Depression

Back to basics Studies have shown that people who enjoy diets rich in fruit, veggies, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and lean meats (aka the Mediterranean diet) have lower rates of depression. There are a number of reasons for this. The body requires nutrients, or building blocks, to manufacture many of the “happy” chemicals in our brain; and these foods are nutrient powerhouses. In fact, the term “junk food” implies that the food item has minimal nutritional value. Filling our tummies up with nutrient-poor foods, or empty calories, often prevents us from consuming nutrient-rich foods and can cause a nutrient-deficit.

Eating healthy can also decrease our risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. These illnesses have been linked to higher rates of depression.

Inflammation Our body’s immune system responds to foreign invaders to keep us safe. However, there are triggers that can cause our immune system to run amok and result in inflammation, an abnormal state. Studies have shown that inflammation not only can disrupt circuitry and the transmission of signals within our brain, it can also kill brain cells, leading to depression. The “3 P’s”–Processed, Packaged, and Prepared foods–are rich in harmful oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and additives (colors, flavor enhancers, preservatives) that can trigger inflammation. Consuming these items every now and then is unlikely to cause harm; but because they are cheap, fast, and convenient, consumer research shows it has become easier and easier to reach for them.

Antioxidants Our bodies produce a waste product called free radicals that can contribute to aging and a number of disease states including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, arthritis, and diabetes. Fortunately, antioxidants can seize and disarm these harmful molecules. Beta-carotene (broccoli, carrots, peaches), vitamin C (blueberries, oranges, tomatoes), and vitamin E (nuts, spinach) are some well-known antioxidants. Let’s incorporate them into snacks and meals.

Carbohydrates Consuming carbohydrates can boost an important “feel good” chemical called serotonin. Unfortunately, it can also expand our waistlines and pack on the pounds. A good balance is to choose complex carbs (whole grains) and healthy carbs (fruit, veggies, legumes) over simple carbs (cakes, cookies).

Can we eat our way out of depression? No; a new, healthy diet cannot replace other treatments. Additionally, a healthy diet does not provide a bullet proof vest when it comes to preventing depression or other illnesses. However, eating healthy should be incorporated into a holistic treatment plan against depression which includes exercise, improved sleep, counseling, decreasing and dealing with stressors, yearly physicals and, if appropriate, medications.

Reduce alcohol Similar to the age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, the same can be asked about depression and alcohol. People who drink heavily and regularly increase their risk for depression. This may be because alcohol is a depressant, increases inflammation, decreases “happy” chemicals in the brain, or can cause chronic illnesses. Conversely, those who suffer from depression are twice as likely to drink away their sorrows and develop a drinking problem.

Dietary changes cannot cure or completely prevent depression. But because we are what we eat, healthy food choices can help keep us in our best physical and mental health. Every time we put something in our mouth is an opportunity to nourish our body. Food is fuel. And just as we would not expect our cars to run smoothly or efficiently if we were to pump low quality fuel into it, we must apply the same reasoning to our bodies. I want to encourage you to think about what you are consuming and make good choices with what fuels you.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.