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Defying Age 

Epigenetics

In 2003, the genome Project was completed, and it allowed us to be able to read our genetic blueprint.

like any blueprint, however, the final outcome can be modified. The blueprint of our genes can not only be altered from within, but more importantly, from other sources – our thoughts, our interpretation of our experiences, our actions and the environment. The study of those forces is called epigenetics. “epigenetics is the study of how variation in inherited traits can originate through means other than variation in the genes in our Dn A” (Habashi J, and Whitlock k . “genetics and epigenetics in the Psychology Classroom: How to Teach What your Textbook Doesn’t”. Psychology Teacher network, f ebruary 2013. (Https:// www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ ptn/2013/02/genetics) These modifications affect how the cells “read” the genes.

Many of us have heard that cells have memory. Basically, this is the core of epigenetics. Conrad Waddington proposed the idea of epigenetics in the early 1940s. It was rediscovered and the intense research began around 30 years ago, even more recently research has proven that trauma has a profound impact on the generational genetic profile. A study of trauma on Confederate prisoners of war and their children and grandchildren showed that sons of Confederate PoWs had an 11% higher mortality rate than sons of Confederate non-PoW veterans. (Henriques, martha. “Can the legacy of trauma be passed down the generations?”.

By Dayle Malen, LCSW, M.Ed.

Gut and Brain Connection 

Foods For Moods!

This is where you see the power of GI tract in overriding what we know to do, but don’t do. When there is a disruption of healthy gut balance, those bad gut bugs will trick you into choosing the donut over an apple every time. As mentioned above, neurotransmitters are predominately made in the gut and when they are low, the prefrontal cortex of the brain is less active. This part of your brain is your executive decision making area. If the function is impacted, you will find yourself making poor choices, i.e. the donut over the apple.Many of us were taught that the brain is the control center of the body. We thought that the brain was dictating what actions and reactions occurred and that our moods and emotions were “just the way we are”. However, scientific research has now shown that the gut or intestinal tract is very much involved in producing many chemicals necessary for brain function and regulating our emotional health.

Did you know that foods actually have the power to calm the brain to produce positive moods or they can stimulate the emotional center in the brain? Overactivity in this emotional or limbic brain has been directly linked to depression. Researchers are concluding the mental health issues like depression are found in people consuming foods that lack key nutrients for brain health. In fact, nutritional intervention may help prevent, treat or improve depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder.

With so much compelling research that strongly links food to mood and to the brain’s health, what are some key foods for brain health and gut health also known as your second brain?


FOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN:

• Berries, like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and key nutrients that help balance your blood sugar and curb food cravings.

• Dark leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals and fight inflammation which according to research is linked to depression.

• Avocados contain healthy fats like oleic acid. This fuels your brain and again studies show people who consume high amounts of oleic acid were 50% less likely to suffer from depression.

• Saffron is a powerful spice found to be as effective as antidepressant medication for depression.

• Kimchi is a robust probiotic food and helps support the healthy bacteria in your gut. Your GI tract has a powerful influence on your brain and mood because 75% of your neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which is the brain’s feel good chemical, are produced in the gut. Existing research suggests that probiotics can reduce symptoms of depression.

• Wild caught salmon and it’s healthy omega-3 fats are powerful in reducing symptoms of depression in adults and children. EPA which is a form of omega-3 is critical for the brain since 60% of the solid weight of the brain is fat. If you have grow up thinking low-fat diets were best, think again.

• Water is not technically a food, but it is crucial for your brain and body. Even mild dehydration can impact your cognition and energy levels and make you feel more anxious, angry, depressed, tense or tired. Because 80% of your brain is made of water as well as all the cells of the body, adequate hydration levels are a must. Aim to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

I often hear people say that they know what they are “supposed to eat”, but still struggle to follow through on healthy choices, especially if they are dealing with depression and anxiety... 

By Traci Vincent, Certified Brain Health and Wellness/Nutrition Coach and Registered Physical Therapist


Basil is an herb for all seasons

The use of exotic herbs in everyday cooking has become the norm rath​er than the exception. One reason for this is the discovery of the therapeutic value of herbs. Basil is one such herb and is characterized by its minty flavor. This aromatic herb is especially popular with chefs. So easy is it to grow that cooks would rather have fresh basil and grow it in their herb garden. The added fact that it doesn't cost a great deal has ensured its popularity.

If fresh basil is not available, all you have to do is make a trip to your local supermarket, food centre or a store that sells health food where dried basil is sold. It goes without saying that you need to seek out top quality basil. Once the basil is harvested, the handling is very important. Do your homework and pick out the best brand. Find the most experienced manufacturers with superior equipment and excellent manufacturing methods. Like peppermint, over processing at the manufacturing stage could ruin the health benefits for which basil is famous.

The nutritional value of basil cannot be underestimated. It is rich in vitamins A and C and contains elements like potassium, magnesium and iron, as also substances like phosphorous and calcium.

The word basil comes from the Greek basilikon meaning ‘royal'. Basilikon has its root in basileus, the Greek equivalent for king. That speaks volumes for the importance given to this herb in the culinary world from ancient times and in varied cultures. Basil is given pride of place in culinary circles not for its exquisite flavor alone, but also for its value as an herbal remedy for many ills. The Italians embrace it as a symbol of love, while in India it is a sign of hospitality.

Basil is responsible for improving the health of an individual. When basil is included in one's diet, the circulatory system is said to function better. The vitamin A that is present in basil makes for a glowing complexion, glossy hair and keen eyesight. The beta-carotene that exists in basil is an antioxidant known for its strength. This and other similar carotenoids that occur in basil are transformed into Vitamin A in the human body, enhancing the advantages of the latter.

The value of antioxidants cannot be underrated as they diminish the impairment caused to the cells in the human body by free radicals. By consuming foods that abound in antioxidants, the free radicals are kept in check, so to speak.Basil is an herb for all seasons


Simple Ways to NEVER Get Sick Again

Imagine never having to delve in the world of doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals until the very end (when it’s absolutely necessary).

Wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil is famous for saying that he wants to live only as long as he is able to maintain a full-range of health, awareness and vitality…and have his life “culminate with rapid decline” at the end. Living as long as we can while being as vibrant and healthy as possible—that seems like a worthwhile goal to me (and the purpose of this article)!

So how do you start integrating preventative measures in your life? Here is a list of 10 practices that will help you stay away from hospitals, feel healthier and live longer:


1. Laugh HARD

Falling on the floor laughing is one of the best things you can do to prevent sickness from entering your life. Laughing boosts immunity, strengthens the heart, and improves lung function among a myriad of other benefits! Making a habit of renting funny movies, going to comedy clubs and watching Saturday morning cartoons like you did when you were a kid (SpongeBob Squarepants is actually hysterical…I have to admit) can add several years to your life!There is certainly no shortage of information about things we can do to maintain an illness-free and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps our biggest challenge is deciphering which nuggets of information are beneficial and which aren’t so great!

Developing a preventative mindset may be the true answer to long-term health, and it is necessary for each of us to implement practices which prevent sickness and disease before they happen.


2. Scatter your Workouts

“Shaking up” your workout routine is a great way to stay healthy over the long-term. Too often we get stuck in exercise patterns that do not promote a diverse experience for the body and mind. Although you may feel like you are doing a really good thing by concentrating on one routine, you may be limiting yourself. People who only do Yoga need to lift weights; people who focus solely on weights need should do more Yoga! Doing the unexpected creates a wonderful “pop of opposites” in the body (a major component of Yin Yang theory). I’m not saying to ditch your favorite workout, but changing it up can strengthen a wider variety of muscles and tendons, increase your heart rate and intensify mental clarity!


3. Sleep at least 7 hours a night

Making a habit of sleeping well is the number one thing you can do to boost your health and longevity, and if you follow no other suggestions on this list try and implement this one. It has become widely accepted that the risk for developing disease increases significantly for people who get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night. Furthermore, lack of sleep has been associated with the worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, and increases risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Sleeping adequately reduces stress, lowers inflammation in the cells, and makes you more alert.


4. See a Chiropractor

The roots of chiropractic care can be traced all the way back to the beginning of recorded time. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., declares in one of his writings “get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”. Effective chiropractic care: inhibits spinal degeneration, restores normal nerve supply, improves immunity, allows better sleep, prevents surgery, and slows the aging process. This is preventative lifestyle at its finest.

Art makes you healthier

People talk about art as a hobby, a talent, a profession, a passion.

Art affects every person differently. You or your child may be more creative than you think. And it’s amazing how the very act of creating art will express how you feel , and in doing so, heal and uplift you.

People who have had problems or difficulties in their lives, speaking in taking our classes in painting, ceramics or crafts, their experience has been great. Kids and teens also enjoy art classes, not only for learning, but also for relaxing and fun.