Category Archives: Blog

Broccoli

Broccoli May Slow Age Decline

BroccoliA foundational aspect of a healthy diet is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables.  A healthy diet can help to lower your risk for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.  This is especially ideal if you eat organic foods to avoid pesticides and GMO’s.

Vegetables contain antioxidants and disease-fighting compounds that you won’t find in other foods and are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Inflammation can be reduced with phytochemicals and eliminate carcinogens. Others regulate cell reproduction, apoptosis and DNA maintenance. A potent anti-aging effect is in certain plant compounds.  Broccoli is probably best known for its anti-cancer activity that also contains an enzyme that researchers believe may slow age-related decline in health by restoring your metabolism to more youthful levels.  A basic premise of aging is that as you age, your cells’ ability to produce energy declines, and cell repair and maintenance declines as well. Degeneration then sets in.

The enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) plays a role in producing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which is a compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism.  Research has shown that your body loses its capacity to create NAD with age. When NMN is dissolved and administered in water, it takes 3 minutes for the compound to appear in the blood. There it is quickly converted into NAD in multiple tissues.

For health and longevity, eat your greens!  NMN is also found in cucumbers, cabbage, avocado and other green vegetables.  Studies have shown that people with higher vegetable intake has lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke, lower risks of certain types of cancer, reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss, higher scores on cognitive tests, higher antioxidant levels, lower biomarkers for oxidative stress, lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, lower risk for eye diseases and fewer digestive problems.

Research has revealed the following list of health benefits associated with broccoli such as osteoarthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and allergies.  Water and nutrient rich veggies as well as broccoli also support healthy liver function, which in turn promotes optimal functioning of your natural detoxification systems. Broccoli also contains a good source of healthy fiber, which is broken down into short-chain fatty acids by your gut bacteria that has been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.  

Broccoli is most well known for its anti-cancer activity, an effect attributed to a naturally occurring sulfur compound called sulforaphane.  Some researchers have suggested broccoli as a key part of an anti-cancer diet. A study recommended that 3 or 4 servings of broccoli per week was found to reduce men’s risk of prostate cancer by more than 60%, a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli also lowered the risk of bladder cancer in men by as much as 50%.  Men with detectable amounts of isothiocyanates in their bodies had a 36% lower chance of developing lung cancer over 10 years. Also, eating broccoli 3 to 5 times per week has been shown to lower the risk of liver cancer, and to help prevent the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Research also shows that sulforaphane can kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth, helping to detoxify carcinogens, causes apoptosis in colon, prostate, breast and tobacco-induced lung cancer cells, reduces the number of reactive oxygen species molecules that cause cell damage by as much as 73%, plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes, and normalizes DNA methylation.  Sulforaphane may also benefit autistic children.

Other compounds found in broccoli that are health promoting are glucorphanin, phenolic compounds, dilndolylmethane, vitamins and minerals.

If you lightly steam your broccoli it will boost the sulforaphane content.  Ideally, try to use fresh broccoli. Adding a myrosinase-containing food such as mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and cole slaw can further optimize the sulforaphane content.  So grab that broccoli and make it part of your diet. It’s your choice to delay that aging and those chronic health risks that accompany that aging.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Dementia

Brush Strokes & Dementia

DementiaAn interesting article written by Ana Sandolu highlights the affects that brushstrokes have to help identify dementia in painters.  Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, both neurodegenerative disorders, affect millions of people in the U.S. every year. Soon some new research could improve the early detection of these illnesses because scientists may have discovered a way to predict these neurological disorders, at least in painters.

Dementia among the elderly in the U.S. is a common neurological disorder.  About 1 in 3 seniors are reported dying with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.  Another common disease is Parkinson’s disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports about 60,000 older people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, but even more are thought to exist in the early stages.

All of the neurological disorders fall under the umbrella of “dementia”, when nerve cells die or no longer function property.  This results in memory loss and impaired reasoning. A way to identify neurodegenerative disease in patients before they have been formally diagnosed is published in the journal Neuropsychology.

By examining the brushstrokes in artists with neurodegenerative disease, Dr. Alex Forsythe, a psychologist from the School of Psychology of the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and researchers, analyzed 2,092 paintings by seven famous painters.  Two of the seven artists examined had experienced Parkinson’s disease, while another two had Alzheimer’s disease. Three of the artists, Chagall, Picasso and Monet had undergone a normal aging process with no neurodegenerative diseases. The paint strokes were analyzed by applying non-traditional mathematics to the patterns known as “fractals.”  This analysis has been previously used to establish the authenticity of major works of art. There was an analysis of 23 paintings by Jackson Pollock that revealed a 100% success rate in terms of the artworks’ fractal content, as opposed to a 100% failure rate in paintings of unknown origin. This reveals the artists use unique fractal behaviors when they paint, that computers can accurately detect the patterns characteristic of famous painters.  

The artists’ brushstrokes are indicative of neurological disease.  Dr. Forsythe and her team examined different painters within different genres and the fractal patterns in their paint strokes remained comparable.  The changes in the artist’s unique fractals over time were examined in an attempt to see if they were due to normal aging or cognitive deterioration typical of neurodegenerative disease.  Psychologists have embraced for a long time that art is an effective method of improving the quality of life for those persons living with cognitive disorders.

The analysis revealed evident patterns of change in the fractal dimensions of the different painters.  These changes showed a clear demarcation between artists who had experience neurological deterioration and those who aged normally.  They hope their study will open up new avenues for future research into neurodegenerative disease to diagnose this disease in the early stages.

Dr  Fredda Branyon

cancer_sign

Cancer Myths & Facts

Many people believe that you will get cancer because someone in your family had it, but that is false.  About ½ of men and 1/3 of the women in the U.S. will get the disease at some point. Only about 5%-10% of cases are linked to genes from their parents.  The doctors aren’t sure why some people get sick with cancer and other don’t, but it isn’t just about your family history of the disease. However, those who eat a lot of processed meats, such as hot dogs and lunchmeat, are more likely to get colon cancer.  It isn’t really completely clear why, but it might be because of nitrites, the chemicals that are added to foods to stop the bacteria and preserve color.

There is a link between red meat and colon cancer, so it would be advisable to limit how much you eat.  Choose instead other kinds of protein such as chicken, fish or beans.

Mythcs & Facts

Heavy drinking can also increase your chances of getting cancer such as mouth, liver, colon, breast and others.  It really doesn’t make any difference if you choose beer, wine or liquor, but how much you consume. The more you drink, the higher your risk.  Stick to no more than 2 drinks a day in you are a man and 1 a day if you’re a woman.

Acupuncture can help ease the nausea in those having cancer chemotherapy.  It might also be useful if you have a dry mouth after radiation therapy. Be sure to let your doctor know if you want to try acupuncture.

A biopsy will not cause cancer cells to spread.  During a biopsy the doctor will take a small sample of cells from your body to check for any indication of cancer.  With most types of the disease, it’s very unlikely that this procedure would cause cancer to spread.

What can you do to lower your chance of getting cancer?  Exercise along with healthy eating and managing your weight will make you less likely to get certain cancers, including breast and color cancer.  Even if you are active, be sure to get routine cancer tests that your doctor might recommend.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Is Coffee Good for Your Mental Health?

Img c/o pexels

Few studies confirm the theory that caffeine presents a negative effect on anxiety, but what other studies found is the exact opposite. A study in Brazil revealed that coffee may help those suffering from anxiety, stress, and mild depression. According to the researchers, people who drink a moderate amount of caffeine (less than 300 milligrams of black coffee or green tea) experienced less depressive symptoms and fewer cognitive failures, indicating that those who drank caffeine felt better, not worse. Only a “rare, high dose” of caffeine is responsible for what the authors of the study termed “anxiety.”

The New York Times published an interesting summary of the possible benefits of caffeine consumption. They showed several of the known benefits of caffeine, including:

1. An Effect on Mood

Those who drank caffeine tended to have an “improved sense of well-being.” It appears coffee itself has the natural ability to, in the simplest of terms, “lift the spirit.” Research has shown that caffeine may help in calming the mind and reducing mild depression. Several coffee lovers also report feeling better about themselves, with an overall higher level of satisfaction that would, in theory, cut the level of anxiety they experience.

2. Increased Energy

Mental and physical energy are crucial elements of living with anxiety. While anxiety could be described as repressed energy, the reality is that anxiety can often cause fatigue and general indifference to life events. Maintaining an active social life, working out, and completing daily tasks require an abundance of energy, and for many people, caffeine can provide that energy.

3. Cognitive Benefits

A study found that coffee provides profound benefits to one’s memory and cognitive function. Wise decision making and comfort with one’s memory are immensely valuable tools for dealing with life’s stresses, and caffeine could conceivably provide a level of additional support for coping with everyday struggles.

4. Routines

Unlike one’s mood, energy, and cognitive function, routines are more of a secondary way wherein caffeine provides a benefit. Routines are a natural form of comfort. The more you get into a habit, the more comfortable you feel with yourself, your surroundings, and the people you interact with every day. People who drink coffee on a regular basis often start to need it as a way of avoiding withdrawal symptoms (and as an enjoyable drink to kick start the day). This results in forming a habit or routine, like going to a coffee shop or brewing a fresh cup of joe at home every 7 AM, making it more comfortable to do day by day.  Other potential benefits of drinking coffee include the drive to routinely drink it with a group of friends, which provides social support – a critical factor in combating anxiety.

The Takeaway

Even though previous studies pinpoint caffeine as a primary trigger for anxiety, existing studies also showcase that a moderate amount of coffee provides tremendous benefit to those living with anxiety. Additionally, even if one does not believe in these benefits, the truth is that there is also very little evidence proving how caffeine worsens the condition of those living with general anxiety. Thus, much like any habit with potential side effects to one’s health, enjoy in moderation!

Father_Child_Sunset

What Fathers Say About Their Fathers

          A young man admitted that he was well into his 30’s when he learned to love his dad for who he was and not for what he thought he should be.  He remembers his father as a good man, a hard worker, volunteer, churchgoer and encourager, but thought he needed more from him like more hugs, tenderness and sit-down-talks about feelings.  He was angry when comparing him to others and blamed some of his life choices on his perception that his father wasn’t there enough.

          He now realizes that God knew long before we showed up on this earth that they’d be a family.  God knew the man’s father had strengths and struggles that would come together to create a relationship that would be more a journey if they allowed it.  Those things tended to grow the two of them more and more into the individuals He created them to be. Throughout the years he came to realize that his dad did the best he could with what he had at the time as a father.  

          Aren’t we all in this same spot?  We aren’t born into the perfect family, with all the perfect opportunities.  Our fathers can only do for us using what they have available at the time. Fathers care more for their children than many can show and strive to show that love in different ways than we might imagine.  This young man now considers his father one of his very best friends.

          Considering all the kinds of fathers out there, we all have our own story, but one thing they all share is that no matter what their personalities, gifts, struggles, or circumstance, every one of them is called to live God’s way.  When this is followed, their families are blessed, communities are strengthened and a ripple of goodness happens in the world.

          Bringing up a child with healthy boundaries and godly discipline is not an easy task.  We all have frustrating moments, so our fathers have had to stand firm in the truth but never critical and demanding.  The father’s actions speak volumes to his children, even if they can’t articulate their feelings easily. When our father’s choose the right path, our family is blessed.

          Even if your father is no longer with you, don’t you have another dad figure in your life to honor?  Perhaps a husband, relative or a close friend who deserves a thank- you. They need to be reminded we are strengthened by their presence and we honor who they are and who they are becoming through the grace of God.

Dr Fredda Branyon

prevent summer hazards

Top 5 Health Hazards to Avoid for a Happy and Healthy Summer

Summer is a great time to go outside and get your daily dose of vitamin E. However, this time of year also brings additional risks to your well-being, including these summer health hazards:

  1. Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke or Hyperthermia is a condition caused by your body overheating because of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. The Mayo Clinic adds that “This most serious form of heat injury can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.” Heat stroke is most common in the summer months, and both adults and children are susceptible to the condition.

Hyperthermia is also marked by fever and unconsciousness. It is primarily treated by cooling down the body with the help of water, cold air, or ice packs. People who suffer from heat strokes require immediate medical help to be tested for complications like muscle breakdown, which can damage the kidneys. Heat stroke can also cause your brain or other vital organs to swell, possibly resulting in permanent damage or death.

If someone has these symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • A throbbing headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Short, rapid breathing
  • Lack of sweat despite the heat
  • A fast pulse
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion and disorientation
  1. Sunburn Now, Skin Cancer Later

Though sunburns may seem relatively harmless and curable, they can lead to skin cancer in the long run. Excessive exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet rays can significantly damage your skin cells. The best and most straightforward way to avoid sunburn is to stay out of the sun, but if you want to enjoy the summer outdoors, reduce your risk of sunburns and skin cancers by reading our blog post about How to Protect Your Skin from Phoenix’s Hot Climate.

  1. Bug Bites

Did you know warm temperatures speed up the life cycle of mosquitoes? In fact, the hotter the summer, the faster mosquito season reaches its peak. Though most mosquito bites do not require you to rush to the hospital, it can also carry life-threatening diseases like West Nile, malaria, or yellow fever. To prevent bug bites and infection this summer, apply an effective bug repellent lotion every two hours. It is also best to keep mosquitoes away from your property by removing any stagnant water, using landscape repellants, and lighting citronella candles.

  1. Food Poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million people suffer from food poisoning, and that roughly 3000 Americans die from foodborne diseases each year. The summer season is full of outdoor activities, including favorable picnics. Unfortunately, bringing food out into the open exposes it to insects that carry bacteria. Additionally, food sitting under direct sunlight for too long will spoil easily. To avoid an outbreak of food poisoning this summer, follow simple guidelines about food handling to keep your family happy and healthy.

  1. Dehydration

Dehydration is a severe reduction in the amount of water in the body. This health hazard occurs quickly during the summer heat. Some complications of dehydration include kidney failure, shock, electrolyte abnormalities, and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day, as well as to increase your fluid intake whenever out in the sun.

Father_and_Child

Dads’ Favorite Sayings

As we are all aware, Father’s Day is coming upon us again on June 17th.  This is our time to honor our fathers and make them special. To do this there are many ways to do things and say to make his day a brighter one.

Some very common things that all dads seem to say to us are:

  • Go ask your mother! (Mom’s do this, too!)
  • Just wait until I get you home!
  • When I was your age…..
  • My father used to tell me…..
  • I used to walk to school in the snow in a blizzard, many miles….
  • Be home early

So how do you make this a special day for your dad?  It might include a dad, stepdad, brother, son or other father figure in your life.  These men all need to hear that they make a difference in our lives and are loved.

You can offer prayer as a simple gift anytime and anywhere for that special man.  Make a special memory together as that is a better gift than presenting them with a present that is soon forgotten.  Take him on a special trip or even surprise him with a unique experience that he has never even thought of doing. Take time out for that weekend together that never seems to present itself.

Plan something around his favorite things whether it’s sports, movies, theater, bike hike, canoe or just some quiet time spent with the family.  Get the families together and celebrate with a potluck meal and a good lawn game. Water balloon fights can even be fun, or just let your dad kick back and relax!  

The good men in our lives aren’t here forever and we have had to say goodbye to many, so take this time to honor those still with us and the memory of those already passed.

Let our fathers know we love them no matter what and how much of an impact he has made on you all for generations to come.  It isn’t what you spend but how much quality time and honest feelings you share with your loved one. Make it a day he’ll never forget.  (And neither will you!)

Dr Fredda Branyon

father_and_child

History of Father’s Day

          On June 19, 1910 Sonora Smart Dodd held a Father’s Day celebration at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington.  William Jackson Smart was her father, a civil war veteran and a single parent who raised his six children there.  She first proposed the idea at the Old Centenary Presbyterian Church where she was a member. She told the pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday to honor them like the mothers did.  She initially suggested June 5th which was her father’s birthday, but the pastors did not have enough time to prepare the sermons. On June 19, 1910, sermons were conducted honoring fathers on the first Father’s Day.

          Dodd stopped promoting the celebration in the 1920s as she was studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and it faded into obscurity, even in Spokane.  She returned in the 1930s and began promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of the Father’s Day Council that was founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the holiday’s commercial promotion by 1938.  The holiday was resisted for its first few decades, viewing it as only an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s day. By mid 1980s the Father’s Day Council said it had become a second Christmas for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.

          Congress introduced a national recognition of the holiday in 1913.  President Woodrow Wilson spoke at a Father’s Day celebration in Spokane.  He wanted to make it an officially recognized federal holiday but Congress again resisted.  Other attempts were made to make that day officially observed, but still was defeated by Congress.  

          In 1957 Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, singling out one of the two parents.  President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966. He designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. It was made a permanent national holiday six years later when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Lunch_Date_with_Dad

Suggestions for Father’s Day

There are many ways for you and your child to spend a memorable day on Father’s Day.  Everyone has their own ideas of what, where and how, but in case you have run out of options, perhaps one or more of the following ideas will  tweak your interest.

  • Take the family golfing.  If you aren’t an avid big time golfer, just take a family trip to the local putt putt.  Everybody loves that.
  • Biking on the trails or riding to your favorite ice cream or yogurt shop gets everyone on the move and provides that needed exercise.  Do it as a family.
  • Head out to your favorite park with that picnic basket filled to the top.  Have an old-fashioned organic picnic there or even at your own back yard. Pull out the grill.
  • Your kids and the dog will all love a day of paddling at the river.  Do all the paddling and let dad know that for once you will do it for him.
  • Picking strawberries is more fun when done as a family.  Just think of that great tasting strawberry shortcake when you get back home. Don’t forget to wash the strawberries really good especially if they are not organic.
  • If you love the outdoors, an outing of camping fits the bill.  Plan that camping trip for the weekend, no matter if it’s tenting in the backyard or using that gorgeous motorhome at some exotic place.
  • Kids love scavenger hunts and involving dad makes it all that much more exciting and fun.  Plan it to end at a picnic spot for a family refreshment or lunch.

Of course, don’t forget to pack those boogie wipes for those small little noses that might be sensitive for allergies.

Other ways to give your dad that great Father’s Day is to eliminate the pressure for a perfect day.  No deadlines, no hassles, no chores, no having to fix things and no rushing anywhere on this special day.  Let him relax.

Spend a lot of time together in harmony.  Sometimes that isn’t easy with all the different stress in life, but give it a try.  Go for a quiet enjoyable walk or just relax around the house.

A gift from Mom could be romancing your spouse.  Honor that partner as your lover and friend and tell him over and over how much he means to you.  You might even give him a sexy morning surprise.

Everything should be focused on the father on this special day.  Choose outings and give him the freedom to choose what he enjoys the most.  Lots of praise goes a long way in letting him know how much he is appreciated. Don’t just tell him, but show him.  How about writing him a thank-you note giving all the ways that make him a special father.  Post a banner in the doorway. It doesn’t take a lot of money to honor your dad or spouse, just your love and gratitude will be the greatest gifts you can give him.

Dr Fredda Branyon

dad&child

Dads Aren’t Perfect!

 

Dad’s Aen’t Perfect

The big day for dad is coming on June 17th.  This is a special day we all set aside to honor our fathers, but sometimes honoring isn’t an easy thing to do.  There are really great fathers and some that haven’t been very present in our lives.  This especially includes divorced parents.  If the child was young when this occurred, they may not have many memories of him at all.  So this brings us to “what do we do with those feelings of disappointment, anger or guilt” when we think of the “father” we see as less than perfect?

All of these thoughts and feelings of hurt, shame, fear or whatever should be taken to our Heavenly Father and laid at his feet.  Only He knows what it’s like to feel anger toward a birth-father for never even trying to be a part of a child’s life.  It can certainly cause a strained relationship with a new, adopted or step dad.  Feelings of disappointment and bitterness need to be released, as God knew and allowed every detail of our lives and only wants the very best for us all.  These feelings can then be replaced with a love that can only come from the heart of God.

In Exodus 20:12 CSB it says to honor your father so that you may have a long life in the land that Lord your God is giving you and doesn’t mean if you HAD a good father, honor him.  We are not worthy of judging our dads.  If we honor our parents, God will bless us with a long life in the land He’s promised to us.  Feelings of resentment only bring us sadness and anger.

We all make mistakes and need to find it in our hearts to forgive others.  Isn’t that what we are taught by God?  There are ways to say the right words to honor your dad or father-in-law on Father’s Day even if you find it hard.  It doesn’t mean you have to say it’s to the best dad ever, but you can still honor thy father with a thoughtful card.  There are many that just indicate that the Lord Bless you or have a special Father’s Day without getting all mushy.

Put your negative and grudging feelings behind you and just make this an enjoyable day for everyone, including the father with which you have had little quality time.  Bitterness will only reap more disappointment and God knew and allowed every detail of our life before we were born.

                                                                                                                                    Dr Fredda Branyon