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5 integrative medicine recommendations for cancer patients

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Cancer affects the whole person: body, mind and spirit, not just the system it targets. Many find that cancer treatment best serves a patient when conventional treatments targeting the body are supported by integrative medicine approaches that help body, mind and spirit. Research-based, proven methods are used by integrative medicine providers to help decrease the side effects of the conventional treatment such as pain, anxiety, dry mouth and sleep disturbances. While supporting the patient’s overall recovery, these five recommendations can help a patient heal and improve peace of mind:

1.)   Acupuncture – Originating 3,000 years ago in China, acupuncture involves placing fine needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. The stimulation of these needles corrects the flow of energy, or qi, along channels throughout the body, called meridians. Studies show acupuncture can help with nausea and dry mouth. The treatment can also be helpful for pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress.

2.)   Massage therapy – Another treatment that has been used for thousands of years, massage therapy is a way to heal the body, maintain wellness and to demonstrate compassionate support to others through touch. There are more than 250 variations of massage and bodywork techniques, each helping to induce relaxation, soothe muscles and promote healing. A Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center study showed a 50 percent reduction in the symptoms of fatigue, pain and anxiety in cancer patients when they received regular massage therapy treatments. Continue Reading »

Strawberries – a tasty and nutritious treat

strawberries

It’s strawberry season! Well…it’s supposed to be strawberry season. However, spring’s late arrival has delayed Wisconsin’s harvest of these precious fruits.

These small, dimpled, delicious red berries are a favorite for many. They happen to be low in calories and high in Vitamin C, potassium, manganese and fiber. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cellular damage, and potassium may help regulate blood pressure. Manganese is a mineral that helps with bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. Strawberries also contain chemical compounds called phenols; phenols have shown some promise in the fight against many inflammatory disorders. Most of all, strawberries are a tasty treat!

Choosing the perfect strawberry is not tricky. The first thing you should know is that strawberries come in different sizes depending on their variety, growing conditions and time of picking. Smaller strawberries tend to be tastier and best for popping in your mouth for a refreshing fruit treat. Bigger strawberries can be used for baking or to make smoothies. These berries should be dry, firm and fully ripe for the best taste. The caps (leaves on the top of the fruit) should look green and fresh. If the cap has been removed, the berry will wilt faster. Wash berries just prior to eating, as wet berries will soften and wilt very fast. Continue Reading »

Colorful, healthy food options for Memorial Day

healthyfood
The sun is finally shining and the warm weather promises to put us all in a better mood—just in time for Memorial Day and the celebrations that typically accompany this holiday.

Many families will be celebrating Memorial Day with picnics, outdoor grilling and other gatherings with food. Below are a few tips on how to enjoy a day of food and fun while still sticking to a healthy diet with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. They’ll look almost as good as they taste!

  1.  Kabobs. You can pre-assemble kabobs that have cherry tomatoes and red, green, yellow or orange peppers. You can also use big chunks of celery, onions, mushrooms, squash and other vegetables. Spritz some olive oil on each kabob before grilling and enjoy the wonders of grilled vegetables. You can grill zucchini, eggplant and even fennel bulbs, too.
  1. Choose lean protein. You may choose to add some protein to your kabobs such as chicken, fish or extra firm tofu. Shrimp are a tasty addition to kabobs, but be aware that they will cook much faster than your veggies or other lean protein. Continue Reading »

Jog, hop or skip for health, but don’t skip breakfast

breakfast

I often hear people say that mornings always feel rushed. Even on weekends it seems like there are a million things to get done. For many, one way to save time is to skip breakfast. However, that is not a very wise choice. Even though there might be kids to drop off at school, work to get to on time and other deadlines in the morning, breakfast is important: it helps with attention span, weight control and helps replenish your body with nutrients.

While it is preferable to have a sit-down breakfast, sometimes that’s simply not an option that fits into our schedules. Many people have shared with me their strategies and food items that ensure breakfast is part of their morning routine, no matter how hurried they feel. Below are a few recommendations.

1. Set the breakfast table the night before. Give kids simple but healthy options to choose from and put non-perishable items (breakfast cereals, fruit cups, whole fruit, etc.) out on the table.

2. Pack a breakfast bag and put it in the fridge. Grab it as you walk out the door. Continue Reading »

The anatomy of a grain

grainanatomy

The seeds of certain plants such as wheat, corn and rice that are used for food are called grains. There is much confusion about what constitutes a whole grain, the benefits of whole grains and what foods routinely contain whole grains.

To better understand what constitutes a grain it is important to understand the anatomy of a grain.

Bran
A single grain kernel has a multi-layered, outer, edible coat or skin called the bran. The bran contains a variety of B-vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

The Germ
Inside the kernel of grain is a small ‘embryo’ which has the potential to grow into a new plant. The germ contains B-vitamins, some protein, minerals and health fats.shutterstock_75767707

The Endosperm
The majority of the space inside a kernel of grain is made up of endosperm.  It is the largest portion of the kernel and is rich in starchy carbohydrates, contains some protein and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The germ feeds off of the endosperm which can provide necessary energy should the seed sprout and grow roots.

Whole grains
According to the Whole Grain Council a whole grain contains “all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.” That is, a whole grain contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm.

If the grain has undergone any kind of processing such as cracking, crushing, rolling, extrusion or has been cooked the food “should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients found in the original grain seed” to be considered a whole grain.

Corn is an example of a whole grain as well as oats, wild rice, brown rice, barley, millet, quinoa, amaranth, wheat berries and others.

Whole grain stamp
Knowing when a food product contains whole grains can be tricky. Claims like natural grains, multi grain and more flood food packages. There is a quick way to ensure that the product you are buying is made from whole grains, and that is by locating the whole grain stamp on the product packaging.

StampCollage150dpiWhole grain stamps are yellow and have the shape of a postal stamp. There are two types of stamp: the basic and the 100% whole grain stamp.

If a product has at least eight grams of whole grain (half a serving) it can list the basic stamp on the package and list how many grams of whole grains it has. Even if a product has a large amount of whole grain, it will use the basic stamp if it also contains refined flour, extra bran or germ. If all of the grain ingredients of a food is whole grain, AND it has the minimum requirement of 16 grams of whole grains per serving (a full serving), then it will use the 100% stamp.

The stamps on the packaged food are an easy way to ensure that you are choosing a food with whole grains. You can of course always read the ingredient labels to make sure that they list whole grains such as whole wheat.

Happy shopping!

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