Monthly Archives: August 2017

What is Functional and Integrative Medicine?

There are many of us nutrition professionals now aligning ourselves with Integrative Medicine. I consider myself in this group. Maybe you are asking yourself what exactly this is and most importantly, does it really matter?

To answer that question, let’s first address the area of conventional medicine. For some time now modern medicine has sought to treat the presenting symptoms. This might mean treating a fever or a cough, for example, or addressing pain or other discomforts. Sometimes this approach is entirely appropriate, however more often this approach misses the underlying cause and the person is never completely restored to health. Think of lingering health conditions such as acid reflux, chronic fatigue, and headaches, just to name a few. Drugs are often prescribed and the patient is sent on her way, but the symptoms persist if the drugs are discontinued.

Additionally, there is very little discussion with the patient as to how their condition came about. Unfortunately, and not the fault of our doctors, there is limited time available to spend with patients and so remedies must be delivered quickly. Without more in-depth dialogue there is little chance the practitioner even has the opportunity to see below the surface of what is really going on.

From a dietetic perspective, a conventional approach to diet intervention would be something like prescribing the same diet to everyone with the same disease. Everyone with heart disease would get guidance on the exact same heart healthy diet, for example, with no consideration given to their culture, preferences, cooking ability, or genetics. Similarly a person seeking to lose weight would be advised on the same general diet as another without consideration given to what they’ve tried in the past or an understanding of what foods work or don’t work for them. These would be examples of conventional approaches.

Now let’s flip to the functional side. Functional practitioners are looking less at masking symptoms and more at how the body is functioning as a whole. They are attempting to uncover where the body is malfunctioning and how can we restore it to its normal, healthy state. Symptoms are just clues to lead us towards the underlying cause.

In addition to symptomatic clues and obviously a physical exam, if appropriate, functional medicine practitioners are also looking in-depth at a person’s unique health history to find more clues as to how and why the body is not functioning as it should. This means sitting down with someone for a significant length of time (often 45 min to an hour) and asking a series of pertinent questions to paint a picture of the person before them. What might seem off-topic to the patient is often valuable information to the practitioner, as random side notes about vacations, new pets, change of jobs, or significant loss can give further clues into a person’s current state of health. These are topics rarely discussed in the conventional model.

Additionally, if necessary, laboratory tests can be conducted to give further insight into treatment options. These might include not only standard blood work but also food allergy tests, digestive stool testing, hormone testing, etc.

The goal then, after this information is obtained, is to determine how to best gently nudge the body back into an optimum state. Pharmaceutical options are a last resort as we know these only mask symptoms and leave the original condition unresolved. Potential nutrient deficiencies are often addressed, exercise recommendations may be made, and stress reduction techniques might be employed as well. Some may go further and prescribe other treatment modalities such as massage, acupuncture or chiropractic care to complement their recommendations. Once initiated these treatment plans often need time. Patients do not develop chronic health conditions in a day or even a week. Likewise these treatments need weeks if not month to restore the body to proper function and balance.

So how does this model work for the dietitian? Thankfully, we already have the immense fortune of being able to sit down with someone for a good hour or more to delve into health and diet history. This gives us a solid place to start when it comes to tailored diet advice. While we are not credentialed to prescribe or “treat” per say, this time allows us to get a full picture, both past and present, of what clients are dealing with; therefore we can devise and educate on an appropriate diet strategy. Often we suggest helpful supplements as well, especially where nutrient deficiencies are apparent. We can also advise on exercise and stress and provide additional referrals when needed.

While both modalities have their place, consider looking into functional medicine, especially if you have chronic conditions that the standard medical model is not effectively addressing. Remember, more medications is not necessarily the answer and in fact can lead to yet more symptoms that require more drugs. Believe me, I have clients in these predicaments and it’s a slippery slope.

So consider seeing a naturopath, a functional dietitian like myself or other holistic care providers for a more thorough look into your condition; or even consider it for another opinion. It just may be the nudge your body needs to finally heal and restore.

Health and Development in the Southern State

This paper proposes that health; like education, efficient political and cultural systems; is an essential component of a nation’s social and economic development. One benefit of efficient health systems is the creation and maintenance of a productive work force. People of working age should be healthy and able to contribute to their nation’s Gross Domestic Product from the time they become employed to their retirement. It is hoped that at retirement, they would have saved enough to take care of themselves in old age. Nations of the South are considered to be the less developed nations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia.

Development is a process that is complex; that is, it comprises several major facets. Among them are social, economic or socioeconomic, cultural, political and technological advancements. It implies much more than growth in Gross National Product per capita, an indicator of economic growth or decline. In this paper, development implies improvements in a country’s ability to become more self-reliant in health, health care and health technology and in the production of expertly trained and skilled health professionals. In general, development suggests that countries have escaped from dependency and underdevelopment. In other words, they can produce most of what they need and use. Their industrial systems are so efficient that they export surplus at competitive prices.

Small island developing nations must do more to improve the quality of life of their populations. Quality of life is measured by the attainment and sustenance of good health. Good health is defined as a state of freedom from communicable and chronic non-communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes respectively. Self-reliant health systems and good health can be attained through citizen education, investment in health technology and medical innovation, and investment in health professionals.

Citizen education requires significant shifts in cultural attitudes to health and wellness. It requires stringent and successful public- private sector partnerships to change citizens’ health beliefs and perceptions. Effective health education should develop innovative means to stimulate a culture of evidence based practices in personal health care. Citizens must take responsibility for their primary health care and must use observations of their health challenges to identify potential solutions. In Trinidad, one example is that people should become aware, autonomously, that proper disposal of hazardous household and industrial wastes will reduce or prevent the onset of aliments of the airways and lungs such as asthma and emphysema.

A nation should become adept in producing health technology to meet its health care needs. Medical research should go so far as to identify and treat indigenous diseases and health challenges. This will be accomplished if appropriate medical technologies are developed and utilized locally. Nations states like Trinidad and Tobago will attain greater development through the provision of well-funded programs in the production of world leading conventional and alternative medicines using locally developed technology. This can lead to the development of medical tourism that will earn needed foreign exchange. The point is that in Trinidad and Tobago much more innovation is necessary to become health sufficient.

It is palpable for small nations to develop their health professionals by providing diverse medical training facilities. Teaching hospitals should be able to deliver advanced and specialist programs in all health related fields. This will reduce brain drain by providing opportunity for health professionals to acquire advanced training in their home country. As a result migration to more developed countries to become specialist surgeons and physicians will become the exception, not the norm.

It is critical for small island nation states to prioritize health care. They must consider the opportunity cost of forgoing the creation of a healthy society and an advanced indigenous health care industry. Leaders of less developed countries must adopt holistic health policies to develop efficient and effective health systems that can match and surpass systems in more developed nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is considered one of the oldest spices and unsurpassed ingredient in the kitchen. It has a very pleasant smell and taste and is used as an addition to fruit salads, pies, and other desserts. Many people like the coffee that sprinkled with a little cinnamon, because it gets a special flavor. It may also be added to tea and other drinks.

In fact, one has to distinguish between two types of cinnamon. One is Ceylon cinnamon, which is better and recommended for consumption. The second is the Chinese cinnamon, which is of lower quality, and as such is suitable for industrial production fresheners, scented candles and the like. Chinese cinnamon is not recommended in the diet because it contains more coumarin than allowed. Ingredient coumarin in larger doses can cause liver and kidney damage.

See why cinnamon is good for your health.

1. It controls blood sugar levels – Several studies have shown that cinnamon has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is a popular natural remedy used by people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

2. Treating fungal Infections – Studies have shown that cinnamon oil is effective in the treatment of infections caused by Candida, such as Candida Tropicalis and Candida Albicans.

3. It relieves the symptoms caused by poisoning – Cinnamon has a strong antibacterial effect and is excellent in the treatment of stomach problems caused by salmonella and E. coli. Ground cinnamon, oil or tea of cinnamon, are effective in neutralizing stomach problems.

4. Helps in the treatment of symptoms of irritation bowel syndrome – Cinnamon drastically reduces the unpleasant symptoms of irritation bowel syndrome, especially helps with flatulence. This plant stimulates digestion and helps in the treatment of bacterial infections. In addition, cinnamon is an excellent remedy for stomach cramps.

5. Helps with osteoporosis and arthritis – Cinnamon is rich in manganese, which helps build bones, blood and connective tissues in the body. People who have less of manganese in the body frequently suffer from osteoporosis and arthritis. In pain due to arthritis can help massage oil of cinnamon or sipping tea cinnamon.

6. Cinnamon affects cognitive development and memory – Regular consumption of cinnamon protect the health of the brain and improve concentration.

7. It is powerful antioxidant – Cinnamon is one of the top foods rich in antioxidants. They help regenerate cells and relieve the body of harmful free radicals.

8. Helps with weight loss – Cinnamon improves circulation and can speed up metabolism. Therefore, you will be successful in the fight with overweight.

9. Relieves muscle pain – If you feel pain in your muscles it will help you massage cinnamon oil.

10. Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides – This spicy plant operates Prevents heart disease, due to lower the level of triglycerides, cholesterol, and excess fat.

A Health Care Invention

A chiropractor is defined as a health care device with a professional touch for the diagnosis and intensive treatment of neuromuscular disorders. Their emphasis is on neuromuscular disorders, especially spine.

Most of the chiropractors are used as a pain reliever for the patients. That is why it has been given the title of being an alternative medicine to the subjected treatment.

Chiropractors firmly and honestly believe in the kind of relationship that developed between our nervous system and spine, this does not come as a surprise as we have already mentioned that the major area of focus for the chiropractor is the spine.

Here is the listing of few of the benefits received from Chiropractic health care

1. A great boost for stress reliever

It is a well known fact that too much of stress will always result in a bad outcome. Neither is it good for health nor is it good for our well being. When our nervous system moves out a bit from the track and our skeletal system seems to have shaken off from their proper position, there are very high possibilities that your entire body will feel out of balance as well. This is what will lead to stress in your entire functioning of the body. Here is when the functioning of a Chiropractor comes into use. It helps in balancing that stress and your body is immediately made to come back to its normal balance. Once you are made to adjust to this functioning you will feel much more equipped to manage this stress if it happens to arise again.

2. Posture perfection by Chiropractor usage

By using this chiropractor over a considerable period of time, these chiropractor adjustments can help in the alignments of the spine and brings a noticeable change in your posture. This is distinctly helpful when it comes to aligning the curve on your neck. As soon as you get into your working in an office phase, you have to spend hours after hours in front of a computer. Due to this from a very young age, people are seen to be having neck issues. If you continue a regular and dutifully maintained use of the chiropractor, you can improve your body posture in no time.

3. Moods are taken care of automatically

When with time your body gets adjusted with the working procedure of the chiropractor, your entire body gets balanced. The entire chemistry of the body is brought back on track. A lot of people who have not had the best of luck in chemical balance gain a lot from the chiropractic care. Depression which is a very serious mental condition also sees an immense improvement in the moods of the sufferer. So you see how a chiropractor is creating wonders in your mood related cases as well which are in a way related to the functioning of your entire body.