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UNDERSTANDING HEMP

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  • "Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."
  • Thomas Jefferson

 

Aside from the whole soy controversy, hemp might just be the other topic tied for number one as being the most misunderstood thing to consume! I am constantly receiving questions about hemp, what it is exactly, where it comes from exactly, what the health benefits of it are exactly, etc. So hopefully I can clear up some things for you with today’s blog…

The Elephant in the Room

Let me go ahead and answer the question that popped in your head when you first found out you’d be reading about the benefits of hemp today. No, you cannot get “high” from eating foods containing hemp! Part of the confusion is that some assume hemp and marijuana are one in the same, so let me explain. I know you’ve seen hemp products everywhere, (hemp milk, hemp protein powder, hemp beer even), and yes, these all come from the same plant that provides marijuana (Cannabis sativa L). However, the seeds contain only trace amounts of THC (the psychoactive component of hemp resin). So again, food products made from hemp seeds and their oil will not get you high or cause a positive reading on drug tests.

Still confused? Let me break it down another way. Marijuana has an extremely high THC content. It is this elevated amount of THC that causes the “high” feeling/experience. Marijuana, however, is low in cannabidiol (CBD) content. It’s CBD that carries the medicinal properties. Sooooo, hemp is basically the exact opposite…high in CBD and low in THC…aka no “high”.

Health Benefits of This “Superfood”

The most nutrient dense portion of hemp, much like most any plant, is the seed and the oil. Those who know me, know that my diet goals include eating as plant-based as possible. Since I do not eat meat, I’m always trying new plant-based sources of protein, and hemp is definitely one of my favorites thus far. Coming second only to soy, hemp contains a highly-concentrated surplus of proteins!

For anyone battling chronic inflammation of any kind, high blood pressure, heart disease of any kind, high cholesterol, low energy, decline in cognitive functioning, hair, skin and nails issues, digestive issues, cancer and/or weight management, hemp is here for you. Hemp contains a balanced 1:3 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (this amounts to more than any fish and most fish oil supplements)!

Hemp is high in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins; and also helps to reduce nausea and vomiting, control anxiety and depression, fight off cancer cells and tumors and control seizures.

Sources of Hemp

You can buy and consume hemp in many different ways…

You can drink it as a plant-based milk option; you can put a scoop of its ground up seed powder into a smoothie or juice to drink as a protein shake; you can eat the seeds raw (they are slightly sweeter than sunflower seeds), you can have hemp butter as another nut butter alternative; etc. Apart from these, feel free to have fun with hemp and get creative! Look up some recipes and enjoy everything from hemp muffins to hemp pancakes. Enjoy!

 

  • Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA
  • Returning to Nature, LLC. | www.returningtonature.com
  • Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc. | www.mbswellness.org
  • Balance U, LLC. | www.abalanceu.com

MUSHROOM POWER

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Mushrooms are yet another one of those foods that get missed during conversations about “super foods” or getting in your “fruits and veggies”. This is why I want to highlight them today because whether you like them or not, you simply cannot deny their powerful health benefits, especially when it comes to boosting your immune system, reducing chronic inflammation, preventing and fighting cancer, preventing and fighting heart disease and increasing overall energy and brain function!

History

Mushrooms have been utilized from a medicinal aspect for thousands of years, with oldest documented medicinal use being in Asian and African countries. We over here in the Western Hemisphere are now coming around to recognizing and learning about “mushroom power” from a healing perspective. It’s almost over-whelming how beneficial they are to your health!

Health Benefits

It’s important to realize that there are tons of different kinds of mushrooms, and that all mushrooms are not created equally. In fact, let me provide you with three powerful ones, carrying very high amounts of nutritional content and health benefits…

1. Shiitake Mushrooms:

This is one of my favorite types of mushrooms to eat, by far! This type provides exceptional protection on a cellular level of your DNA from oxidative damage. This is great to enhance over-all wellness, slow down the cellular impact of the aging process and is a great natural treatment for cancer. It actually also helps to heal damage to the DNA that can be caused by various anti-cancer treatments! Other conditions that shitake mushrooms impact include: high cholesterol, digestive issues, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infectious diseases (viral, bacterial and fungal) and high blood pressure.

2. White Mushrooms:

These are probably the most commonly used mushrooms. They are extremely nutrient-dense and protein-rich. There’s even research available showing that extracts from these white mushrooms can reduce hormonal imbalance and even prevent you from having any of the hormone-dependent cancers (particularly breast cancer)! Another mushroom similar to this one that you may have heard of before is the portabella.

3. Oyster Mushrooms:

What I love most about these mushrooms is their ability to naturally reduce joint pain and muscle aches! These mushrooms are highly anti-inflammatory and help with lowering your risk for a heart attack or stroke by strengthening the walls of your blood vessels. Another added bonus, especially for my fellow plant-based dieters, is that these mushrooms are an excellent source of iron!

How to Buy Mushrooms

When shopping for mushrooms, buying organic ones is extremely important! This is because mushrooms are very porous in nature, meaning that they’ll easily absorb chemicals (pesticides, heavy metals, pollutants, etc.) from the soil they grow in like a sponge! So yes, it’s definitely worth spending the extra money to purchase the best quality of mushrooms you possibly can. Once you get home, be sure to store them dry and in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

Another Source of Mushrooms

So, what if you read all of this, and want to experience all of the amazing health benefits of mushrooms but are thinking “I’m not a fan of the taste of mushrooms…”? Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out on the fun. I provide many patients, friends and family with a mushroom complex…a supplement in pill form composed of 14 species of nutrient-dense mushrooms (including rare varieties not available in conventional mushroom products) ground up and enclosed in a capsule. You simply take 2 of these and you’re good for the entire day. Talk about a tremendous boost of your immune system!

Where do these 14 different species of mushrooms come from? Well, they’re sourced from regions all around the world including the desert of Nigeria, the southern highlands of Brazil and the highest levels of the Himalayas in Tibet and Nepal. And no worries, this is a whole-food product, that’s all natural, certified kosher and certified organic. If interested, just let me know and I’ll get this product to you as soon as possible.

 

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC. | www.returningtonature.com

Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc. | www.mbswellness.org

Balance U, LLC. | www.abalanceu.com

THE PINK RIBBON

PINK RIBBON

Let the sea of pink ribbons begin! It’s officially October, and we all know what that means…pink ribbons on clothing items, food items, accessories, social media posts and profile pictures, etc. We use this symbol annually to increase awareness of breast cancer and its impact on those around us. We also use it to celebrate those who have battled the cancer and won; as well as to remember those who have battled the cancer and are no longer with us. We also use it to encourage those in the midst of the breast cancer fight right now; as well as to educate those who have never encountered it on preventive measures to take to continue avoiding it. Such a massive message delivered through the display of such a simple symbol!

Breast cancer’s current impact…

According to BreastCancer.org, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Also, this year an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. The good news is that survival rates have been increasing due to the increased education, awareness and screenings! When detected at an early stage, the five-year relative rate of survival for localized breast cancer has increased from 72% to 96% over the past few years.

Breast cancer prevention…

There are definitely a few things that you can tweak within your own lifestyle to help you reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in the first place; and for those who have a past medical history of breast cancer, these tweaks can also help you to prevent recurrences post treatment. For instance, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing your physical activity is a big one because the more fat tissue you have in your body, the higher your estrogen levels are likely to be, thus increasing your risk of the cancer. Also, removing certain things from your lifestyle can help too, like alcohol, meat (to avoid residues of hormones used as growth promoters in the animals), xenoestrogens (a large number of synthetic chemical compounds that we all encounter having estrogen-like activity), long term external hormone use like birth control or estrogen hormone replacement therapy, etc. Finally, incorporating certain things into your lifestyle can help too, like healthy fats, cruciferous vegetables, healthy fiber sources, a potent multivitamin and antioxidants, etc.

Cancer as a whole….

As universally recognized as the pink ribbon is, this is definitely not to overshadow the importance of all other types of cancers! Cancer as a whole is a very serious condition that is not to be taken lightly. Due to the fact that breast cancer and has gained such immense popularity, I invite you to take the month of October to also become aware of and educated on cancer in general, and the impact that it’s having on us! Be sure to use the month of October to also celebrate those who have battled any type of cancer and won; as well as to remember those who have battled any type of cancer and are no longer with us. Make sure to also encourage those in the midst of a cancer fight right now; and be sure to take on as many preventive measures as you can to avoid cancer in general. Share this knowledge with others! If you’d like more details on cancer prevention and treatment, feel free to email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you’re interested in using Holistic Medicine to assist in your cancer fight or prevention (i.e. nutrition counseling, nutrient IV therapy, supplement therapy, etc.), I’d be more than happy to have you come in to my practice (Mind Body Spirit Wellness Center) for a consultation! You may call (404) 478-9868 for a FREE pre-appointment phone consultation to get all of your questions answered before coming in for your initial consultation and treatment!

Have a beautiful day, and be sure to stay tuned for more holistic wellness blog posts!

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC. | www.returningtonature.com

Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc. | www.mbswellness.org

Balance U, LLC. | www.abalanceu.com

EXTRA OLIVES, PLEASE!

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“Extra olives, please!” is a direct quote from my regular life. Those who know me well also know of my borderline addiction to olives…and I use the term “borderline” loosely haha. I love how they taste, and how their flavors seem to enhance anything that they are in or on. I also love their delicious oil, especially as a yummy salad dressing base. I especially fell in love with them after learning about all of the amazing health benefits they possess. People tend to forget about olives when considering “super foods”, so that’s why I’d like to take some time to shed some light on the nutritional content of olives…

What ARE olives?

I always find it interesting when I overhear debates about just what an olive even is to begin with – is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Is it a nut? Well, let me just clear the air right now…olives are fruit. Yes, by definition, an olive is a fruit because it is the section of the plant that contains the seed(s) - or in this case, the olive pit. The other plant components we see are what we consider to be the vegetables (i.e. the leaves, the roots, the stems, etc.).

Just like many “super fruits”, olives carry an abundance of health benefits! Full of fiber? Check! Essential vitamins and minerals? Yes! Powerful antioxidants? Absolutely! The best way to consume all of these nutrients is via cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, however, grabbing a handful of yummy stuffed or cured olives is the next best thing!

Green vs. Black?

The next olive confusion I often hear involves understanding the difference between the green ones and the purple or black ones. Olives range in color from light green (unripe/immature) to very deep purple and black (ripest form). After growing on the tree, olives are usually harvested and then immediately pressed into olive oil (or cured/stuffed for us to eat whole). Why cured? Well, directly from the tree, olives are extremely bitter.

Health Benefits? 

As I mentioned above, olives are LOADED with antioxidants! We all know that antioxidants are the star players in the fight against disease-causing free radicals on the loose in our bodies. Vitamin E is a highly important antioxidant in olives, along with minerals like selenium and zinc.

It's also true that olives contain a certain amount of fat, but it's the type of fat that's important! About three-fourths of the fat in olives is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid linked to reduced blood pressure, blood sugar, cardiovascular disease risk and inflammation risk.

Also, when applied topically, its oil is a great skin moisturizer (improving the skin’s elasticity and regenerative properties), a great scalp moisturizer (relieving dry, flakey scalp or dandruff) and a great hair moisturizer (improving frizzy hair or split ends).

So, next time you’re served a delicious Greek salad, or any other dish with olives in it, remember…“Extra olives, please!” 

 

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC. | www.returningtonature.com

Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc. | www.mbswellness.org

Balance U, LLC. | www.abalanceu.com

BLACK SEED OIL

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Black seed oil is one of those oils that can help you in almost any way, whether you are trying to lose weight, increase your hair length and thickness, reduce inflammation, etc. It’s one of my favorite oils and definitely a must-have in your household. Let’s explore why…

Oil History

When considering the plants in nature that have incredible healing properties, black seed oil (also known as black cumin seed oil) falls amongst the most effective on the planet! Black seed oil is made from the seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant (native to Asia), and has a lot of historical value. The first recorded use of it was during the King Tut era in Ancient Egypt (it’s believed that Cleopatra used it for her skin and hair). Hippocrates also used it to reverse digestive issues, as it is traditionally known for its potent anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, research up until now has determined that there is not another herb known to possess such a wide range of healing capabilities. Let’s consider a few conditions it can impact…

Weight Loss

Research is rapidly surfacing now illustrating just how extraordinary it is for weight loss by decreasing weight gain triggers (it can have an appetite curbing effect), boosting the metabolism, and providing a high dosage of antioxidants. Black seed oil is also very rich in fatty acids which aid in transporting fat out of the body, thus increasing your “good cholesterol” and decreasing your “bad cholesterol”. It can also enhance the quality of your digestive system, boosting your body’s ability to utilize all of the nutrients it absorbs properly, and stimulate proper waste elimination. Finally, black seed oil can also help to lower and maintain blood sugar levels, which could come in handy when trying to decrease your cravings for carbs and sugar.  

Inflammation Reduction

The potent antioxidant properties of black seed oil definitely contribute to it being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This means that it could strongly impact any inflammatory condition (i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, cancers, wound healing, psoriasis, acne, alopecia, aging symptoms, and so much more). Its potent antioxidant properties are thanks to its powerful phytochemicals (i.e. mainly thymoquinone) that inhibit the production and activity of inflammatory elements, while at the same time boosting the immune system to do what it was originally designed to do much more efficiently.

Hair Enhancement

For those looking for another option to go along with (or to take a break from) the forever glorified coconut oil, here you go! In fact, black seed oil is unlike coconut (and even olive oil) due to the main fact that it is an essential oil. Maybe your hair is just a little unhealthy with some shedding, breakage and missing edges…or maybe you have full blown alopecia/hair loss…either way, this oil is great for you because it could greatly relieve your scalp and get deep within the roots of your hair to cause transformation. Typically, all you need to do is apply it on the affected areas of your head (or beard area for men) regularly for a few weeks, and you should begin to see improvement in your hair thickness and overall health. In fact, due to the anti-inflammatory qualities you just read about above, a lot of research has proven black seed oil to be one of the most effective ways to tackle hair loss. Even for those with perfectly fine hair aiming for maintenance, black seed oil is extremely hydrating for the hair, and can be applied to soften, moisturize and promote a healthy shine.

Oil Source

Where should you buy your black seed oil? Which manufacturer should you trust? What black seed oil properties are best? Is it cold pressed? How pure is the oil? What dosage should I follow? So many things to consider when ordering your first oil supply…wouldn’t want to waste your time and money, right? If you are interested in obtaining black seed oil you can trust and that comes highly recommended, feel free to reach out to me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, if you have any questions in general about black seed oil that were not addressed in this reading, feel free to reach out to me as well.

Be sure to stay tuned to the website for more wellness blog posts!

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returning2nature.com

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