Health Notes

Food and Mood

By Robert Luby, MD

Note:This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Interested in more information on how inflammatory foods may contribute to depression? To learn more about the subject, sign up for our Depression... An Inflammatory Condition? class on Thursday, January 24 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Food can play a significant role in initiating, perpetuating, exacerbating, and treating depression.  In order to understand how this may be possible, it is necessary to understand the role of inflammation with regards to depression.

Inflammation is the normal transient response manifested by the immune system in the presence of microbial infection, tissue trauma, psychosocial stress, and inappropriate foods.  In the short term, inflammation is a necessary and beneficial response to each of these adverse environmental encounters.  Inflammation mediates the natural healing processes of the body to facilitate recovery.

A problem arises however, if the environmental “encounter” becomes a “sustained exposure”.  One such sustained exposure is the regular ingestion of foods which are “pro-inflammatory”.  This type of eating pattern has the potential to create a sustained and prolonged inflammatory response of the immune system.  Unlike the beneficial outcome of a transient inflammatory response, a sustained inflammatory response can have devastating effects, especially upon the brain and the “neurotransmitters” which mediate the state of our mood.

January's Health Genie: Vitamin D

Note:This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Dear Health Genie,

For the last several years, we have been hearing about the benefits of vitamin D. My husband and I are active, healthy and eat a varied diet, so we don’t take many supplements. Can you tell us a little bit about vitamin D and whether it might hold some benefits for us as we age? 

Thank you,
Dee Winter

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Phytonutrients

By Robert Luby, MD

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

The term “phytonutrients” simply refers to natural chemicals found in plants that act as nutrients for human physiology.  A common distinction made between vitamins/minerals and phytonutrients is the following:  vitamins and minerals are essential for life.  While not essential to sustain life, phytonutrients promote optimal health.  There are more than 25,000 known phytonutrients, an estimated 10,000 of which may prevent disease.

April's Health Genie: Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Dear Health Genie,

I recently came across a recipe that called for chia seeds as an egg substitute. Is this the same chia that I used to make Chia Pets in my youth? What else can you tell me about chia seeds?

Sincerely,
Chia-quisitive

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May's Health Genie: Green Tea

Green Tea

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Dear Health Genie,

I have heard that green tea is a healthy alternative to coffee. How is green tea different from black or white tea, and with so many types of tea available, how does one go about choosing which tea to buy?

Signed,
Jasmine T.

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