Foods to fight anxiety. And possibly RSD?

RSD/CRPS is often described as an anxiety disorder (certainly gone awry) and a sympathetic system stuck in “fight or flight.” Maybe you don’t believe that. But likely anxiety has set in anyway from the overwhelming stress of the prognosis (a prognosis I believe doctors will learn later does not have to be and possibly contributes to the decline in some patients). What we do know is that western medicines like ketamine sedate the body. We now have learned ketamine is being used for depression as well. We know that many medications for RSD are anti-anxiety meds. With that knowledge, why aren’t more doctors prescribing meditation and a change in diet?

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can only speak for me. But I did improve significantly when I started to practice qi gong on a regular basis. There is a cumulative effect to meditating. Food is another tool that has assisted in my calming endeavor. Turmeric, avocado, kale, fish oil, ginger root tea, among others (okay sometimes Cabernet).

Below is a list of 13 foods from a mindbodygreen blog that can help ease anxiety. So often we ignore the food we are putting in our bodies, eat unhealthy foods and then seek outside medicine. Maybe those foods aren’t unhealthy but they might not be helping our bodies. Perhaps they would be foods better suited for another medical condition.

What if food is the answer?

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15428/13-foods-to-help-ease-anxiety-stress.html
from mindbodygreen:

1. Oysters Research has correlated an imbalance of zinc to copper with anxiety. This trace mineral ratio is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function and adaptation to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc may lead to symptoms of anxiety.

2. Chamomile Tea Sip on this natural anti-anxiety medicine for its natural calming effect. This soothing, mild tea was shown to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in just a few weeks!

3. Rooibos Tea Rooibos, or African red bush tea, is a delicious way to bring a natural calm to your day. Researchers are looking into its effect on cortisol. It seems to work by having a balancing effect on the body’s main stress hormone.

4. Full-Fat Kefir In functional medicine, the gut is considered the “second brain” because it’s home to 95% of your “feel good” hormone seratonin. With more than 100 million neurons, your gut’s health is essential to manage anxiety.

Bacterial imbalances in your gut can alter brain chemistry, and kefir, an ancient fermented dairy drink, might just be the most powerful probiotic ever! It also has fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, all important for brain health.

5. Turkey …Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm. Tryptophan in the form of meat, has been shown to reduce anxiety disorders!

6. Turmeric Curcuminoids, the antioxidants in turmeric, have a neuroprotective quality and help enhance your mood. It was shown in a randomized controlled trial to be an effective option for major depressive disorder, which is closely linked to anxiety disorders.

7. Organ Meats If you eat meat, organ meats are some of the best sources of nutrients needed to beat anxiety, like zinc and vitamin D. They also contain copious amounts of choline, needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Liver is also abundant in B vitamins, which are needed for methylation, a metabolic process in the body that is responsible for proper synthesis of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Homocysteine levels and MTHFR mutations are two tests that I run to ensure optimal neurotransmitter metabolism and methylation.

8. Avocados This superfruit is great for brain health and anxiety. They contain potassium which helps naturally lower blood pressure. Avocados also contain beneficial B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for neurotransmitter and brain health.

9. Dark Chocolate Science has vindicated chocolate lovers everywhere. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that people who drank a dark chocolate drink, equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day, felt calmer than those who did not.

10. Asparagus This sulfur-rich vegetable also contains the specifically beneficial B vitamin, folic acid. Low levels of folic acid are linked to neurotransmitter impairment, which can lead to anxiety. A 5.3-ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid! It also contains moderate amounts of potassium, which can lower blood pressure.

11. Adaptogenic Herbs One common hormonal signaling pathway dysfunction I find in patients struggling with anxiety disorders is the brain-adrenal axis. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is part of your sympathetic “flight-or-fight ” response and something, and can play a role in adrenal fatigue. Stress hormones, like cortisol, can cause seratonin receptors to become less sensitive to activation. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola and holy basil are some of the tools I use to optimize brain-adrenal function in patients.

12. Leafy Greens If you struggle with stress and anxiety increase the greens! Plant foods like Swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium, the natural “chill pill,” which also helps regulate the brain-adrenal axis.

13. Fatty Meat Inflammation is one factor when it comes to brain health and anxiety. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease anxiety. Omega-rich foods like Alaskan salmon and grass-fed beef can help decrease inflammation and help cortisol and adrenaline from spiking.

zoopharmacognosy

Cool article! I like that we aren’t the only animals who might seek out certain plants to heal us. My main healing “plants” are green tea, avocado, kale and ginger root. Right now I want to seek out a rice crispy treat to feel better. I walked by a cafe today that sells pretty yummy rice crispy treats but they add other cereals and they are amazing. I totally cased the joint to be sure they have them today…I might have to go get one…I walked two blocks out of my way to go lurk in their window. I feel I have gone off topic maybe. The article…worth the read but here are some snippets:

“The theory of self-medicating animals, known as zoopharmacognosy, has been spotted in macaws in Brazil, elephants in Kenya and even dogs and cats in the UK and US. ‘The science of animal self-medication is derived from the roots zoo (‘animal’), pharma (‘drug’), and gnosy (‘knowing’). ‘It’s not clear how much knowing or learning is involved, but many animals seem to have evolved an innate ability to detect the therapeutic constituents in plants…

‘Dogs do not have the means to digest grass, as they lack the enzymes needed to break down the fibres,’ explained Vancouver-based vet Dr. Michael Goldberg. ‘Thus, there is little nutritional value in it for them. One reason for eating grass may be due to a feeling of nausea. ‘It is possible that dogs learn this is a temporary solution for stomach irritation.’ He continued that tests on dogs that have exhibited these behaviours have later revealed inflammatory conditions in their stomachs, as well as signs of gastric reflux or bowel disease…

Red and green macaws have been known to eat kaolin clay to help with digestion problems. This is said to be a ‘detoxifying’ strategy. The diet of the Amazonian macaw, for example, is made up primarily of seeds and this can lead to them eating toxic berries and other items that resembles seeds.

More than 200 species of birds, for example, grasp ants in their bills and wipe them across their feathers. This is known as anting. In particular, ants that spray formic acid can kill off feather lice and protect the birds from infection.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2868348/Do-animals-SELF-MEDICATE-Dogs-elephants-chimps-parrots-use-natural-remedies-treat-digestive-problems-induce-birth.html#ixzz3LjclrYVv
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it’s cold outside: foods to increase circulation

It’s that time of year. Whether you have RSD and/or Raynaud’s or you’re just plain cold all the time, here’s a link to great information about foods to eat to improve your circulation. I am sipping some fresh ginger tea as I type this.

http://www.revitive.com/health-information/foods-to-improve-circulation/

Oranges — Oranges and other citrus fruits high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls and prevent plaque build-up which leads to poorer circulation.

Dark Chocolate — Cocoa contains flavonoids which is naturally found in plants and fruits and has been well linked to improving blood circulation. A study published in the Circulation Journal showed that dark chocolate rich in natural flavonoids improved blood circulation when compared with white chocolate with no flavonoids.

Cayenne pepper — Cayenne is available as a fresh pepper or dried spice and has been associated with increasing metabolic rate and strengthening arteries and blood vessels. Cayenne pepper is best eaten raw in salads or juiced.

Sunflower seeds — Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E which is shown to help keep blood clots from forming. They are great at helping improve circulation. Likewise so are foods such as olives, nuts and pumpkin seeds,

Root Ginger — Ginger is known for helping nausea and digestion problems as well as increasing blood circulation. Ginger can be eaten raw or added to foods or why not try ginger tea.

Garlic — Garlic has many uses and one of them is it cleanses the blood and helps prevent plaque build-up. Other foods in the bulb group such as radishes, onions and leeks are also good at stimulating blood flow.

Ginkgo Biloba — One of the world’s oldest surviving tree species, Ginkgo biloba dilates blood vessels and in doing so increases blood flow. It is also thought to increase blood flow to the brain.

Goji Berries — Goji berries can be found in natural health stores and look similar to raisins. They are high in fibre to help boost the immune system as well as increasing blood circulation.

Watermelon — Watermelons are rich in lycopene which is a natural antioxidant linked to improving circulation. Lycopene is a natural pigment which gives certain foods their reddish colour. Tomatoes, pink grapefruit and apricots also contain lycopene.

Salmon and avocados
— Both salmon and avocados contain heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids which research has shown to support the cardiovascular system and increase blood circulation.”

Fresh ginger tea for pain

Lately I have been drinking a lot of fresh ginger tea mainly to help build my immunity. One thing happened when I got into eating to help fight pain and that is that I feel the need to constantly build my gut health and my immunity. I grew up with the mindset that you deal with things after you get sick. Now I try to build myself up so i don’t get sick but if i do, thankfully, it’s usually much shorter and less hectic. I always proudly tell the story of the stomach flu that took down the entire office except the girl with the apple cider vinegar. It’s not really a good story. I think I just gave away the ending.

At the link below there is a list of 22 benefits of ginger tea. Here are a few from that list that I think RSD peeps might appreciate:

“Provides Pain Relief – No matter what type of pain you’re suffering from, ginger can act as a natural pain reliever. It’s interesting to think that a root that grows in nature can actually affect how much pain you’re experiencing. It works on a hormonal level, and the anti-inflammatory nature means that overall you should have fewer aches and pains. Consider starting your morning with a cup of ginger tea and see if you notice improvements throughout the day.

Relieves Tired Muscles – The sort of muscle tiredness you get after strength training is the type that ginger works best on. This means that your muscles will recover better and allow you to take part in cardio workouts on your off days. It means you’ll be more likely to be more active instead of being out of commission on the days following your weight lifting workouts. Increased lean muscle mass generally equates to natural weight loss as you burn calories around the clock.

Helps the Body Absorb Nutrients – When you’re trying to lose weight getting the right nutrients is essential. But if your body is overweight and not used to getting the nutrients it needs, it may have become used to not getting the required vitamins and now it doesn’t properly absorb them. More ginger means that you’ll be better absorbing the sort of nutrients that will help you in your pursuit and get you better results more quickly with the same amount of effort.

Reduces Arthritic Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory nature of ginger means that it can help with a host of inflammation-based conditions and diseases. Not least of which is arthritis, which millions of American suffer from, with millions more diagnosed each years as the baby boomer population grow older. There is even a bit of a pain relief characteristic to ginger, which is welcome news to those that don’t want to take a pill every day to relieve pain.

Improves Circulation – Ginger gets the blood in your body flowing, which will give you a feeling of having more energy, and can help you with any feelings of sluggishness or fatigue. It’s a great thing to drink if you live in a cold climate, because it will provide the sort of warmth you’re really after, the kind that comes from the inside and radiates out. This is because it is opening your pores and getting your overall circulation functioning better.

Strengthens Immunity – This is a fantastic feature to ginger that should pique the curiosity of anyone that was contemplating taking it or not. An improved immune system can mean that you get sick less often, that you recover more quickly when you do get sick, and that even if everyone else around you is coming down with an illness you can stay healthy. The research behind this property is solid, this is another instance where science is backing up an all-natural remedy.”

http://bembu.com/ginger-benefits

Fresh ginger tea

Fresh ginger tea

It’s a rainy day here in LA. I am watching Gilmore Girls and just made some fresh ginger tea. Given the weight of what happened the other day in CT, it’s hard to really concentrate on anything but family and the things that bring us a little joy.

My acu tells me to regularly drink ginger tea but especially when I am feeling cold or feel that I am about to get sick. It’s amazing for inflammation, pain, immunity and a host of other things that make ginger a good option for anyone but especially RSDers.