HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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and impaired brain function. It can also worsen of symptoms of mood disorders such as depression.


If the brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells circulate within the brain’s enclosed space, problems with basic functioning, cognition and mood – not to mention weight and physical health – may arise. The burgeoning field of nutritional psychiatry is finding many consequences and correlations between what we eat, how we feel and how we ultimately behave.


Start paying attention to how eating different foods makes you feel. Try eating a clean diet for two to three weeks – cutting out all processed foods and sugar. Add fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles or kombucha. You might also try going dairy-free. Some individuals feel better when they eat grain-free. Take note of how you feel, then slowly introduce foods back into your diet one by one and again assess how you feel. Many people cannot believe how much better they feel both physically and emotionally after eating clean – and how much worse they feel when they reintroduce the foods that are known to enhance inflammation.

DOES FOOD INFLUENCE THE BRAIN?

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

glucose into the blood. Then comes the dip: Blood sugar shoots down, and with it goes attention span and mood. But oats, grains and legumes release glucose at a slower rate, so for sustained brain power, opt for a varied diet of nutrient-rich foods.


The brain works best on a diet of high-quality foods loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which protect the brain from oxidative stress – the waste of free radicals produced when the body uses oxygen. These free radicals can damage cells. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables enable the brain to fight off free radicals and work well for longer periods. Without powerful micronutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid, the brain would be susceptible to disease and mental decline. Trace amounts of the minerals iron, copper, zinc and sodium are also fundamental to brain health and early cognitive development.


Low-quality food can be detrimental to the brain because it has no way to get rid of substances from highly processed and refined foods. Diets high in refined sugars worsen the body’s insulin regulation and promotes both inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between such a diet

The brain is always working. To do so, it needs a constant fuel supply. This fuel supply is the food we eat. What’s in food matters to the brain. What we eat directly affects its structure and function and ultimately our development, energy and moods.


If all the moisture was sucked out of the brain and it was broken down to its nutritional content, most of its weight would be from fats (lipids). The rest would be proteins, amino acids, traces of micronutrients and glucose. Omegas 3 and 6 are essential fatty acids vital to preventing degenerative brain conditions. The proteins and amino acids are the building block nutrients of growth and development. They also manipulate how we feel and behave. Amino acids contain precursors to neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that carry signals between neurons. They affect mood, sleep, attentiveness and weight. The complex combinations of compounds in food stimulate brain cells to release mood-altering norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. Each nutrient has to compete for limited access.


To efficiently transform and synthesize these valuable nutrients, the brain needs fuel, and lots of it. While the brain only makes up about 2 percent of the body weight, it uses up to 20 percent of our energy resources. Most of this energy is derived from carbohydrates. Carbs come in three forms: starch, sugar and fiber. The ratio of the sugar and fiber subgroups to the whole amount of carbs affects how the body and brain respond. A high- glycemic food such as white bread causes a rapid release of