Cooking and baking are both physical and mental therapy.
My grandfather usually has some really nice, organic lettuces on his little allotment. On top of this, I’ve always wanted to explore recipes that include a good amount of greens. So, one day I challenged my grandmother, and we baked a lettuce cake that turned out pretty tasty! You will find the ingredients you need and the instructions to prepare it down below.
I call supplementing with electrolytes and metals: The Electrical Chemistry of the Human.
As the name suggests, electrolytes are minerals with an electrical charge and they circulate in our body through fluids such as blood and urine. Some examples of electrolytes are potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, and chloride. We get these minerals from the food and drinks we ingest. As happens with other nutrients, levels of electrolytes can either be high or low, but electrolytes are particularly impacted by the amount of water in our bodies. Dehydration (lack of water) or overhydration (excess of water) can mess up our electrolytes balance.
Electrolytes play an important role in our metabolism and in the maintenance of homeostasis. They help regulate the amount of water in the body, and our overall pH level. These minerals are essential for the healthy maintenance of our nervous system and the bi-directional communication channel between our brain and the remaining parts of our body. The kidneys and the liver are two specific organs that help us maintain healthy levels of electrolytes in our body, so when these two organs are impaired for some reason electrolytes balance can be compromised.
Common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance
Although each electrolyte may have specific functions, common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and delirium. More severe symptoms can include seizures, coma, and metabolic acidosis. Checking our level of electrolytes is recommended and even more so as we age and whenever we experience conditions such as vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, or hot weather. Excessive sweating, the use of laxatives, and diuretics can also lead to electrolyte imbalances.
Foods rich in electrolytes
The best way to make sure you keep a healthy electrolyte balance is to have a nutritious diet, characterized by a high intake and variety of plant-based foods, moderate intake of good-quality proteins, and low intake of highly processed foods. Vegetables and fruits are essential to replenish any minerals that are flushed out. The Mediterranean Diet or any other traditional diet that is whole-foods based is a good option to follow. You can also take over-the-counter electrolyte solutions or eventually sports drinks, although you should be wary that some of these products contain high doses of sugar and therefore not a perfect solution.
Although water intake is essential, it is equally important to learn about electrolytes, their role in metabolism and homeostasis as well as the different ways imbalances can compromise our health and well-being. Electrolytes are essential minerals for mental health. When we look at the table of common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance we can find plenty of psychological experiences that are often linked to poor mental health. This shows how the mind and body are not separate from each other, and how nutritional imbalances can contribute to mental health and well-being.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Mediterranean food and appreciate the myriad of scientific studies that demonstrate its benefits. In this blog post, I will share what the scientific community has to say about osteoarthritis (OA) and the Mediterranean diet (MDiet).
This post is brought to you by Reyzan Shali, a primary care physician, practicing in the San Diego area. Please visit her website for more information and other health-related articles.
A patient was scheduled to get an injection for her knee, but when she showed up for the appointment, she didn’t want her shot. She said that she didn’t need it. The doctor asked her how she overcame the pain she was having. The patient said that she started eating cleaner, and the pain went away on its own.
With shots being an all-too-common solution for osteoarthritis management, it makes me think about how something as fundamental as the food you eat can have a real impact on your health. I’m all for helping my patients find ways to alleviate their symptoms through research-backed nutrition advice.
Pain or aching – In my opinion, this translates to using lots of painkillers, which can have serious consequences (including overdose)
Stiffness – Patients always ask, “Why is it taking me longer and longer to loosen up?”
Decreased range of motion (flexibility) – I’ll hear, “It’s getting harder and harder for me to clean my house, to take care of my garden. I can’t reach for the upper kitchen cabinets.”
Swelling (edema) – I’ll hear, “I had to cut my ring off because it was stuck on my swollen finger,” or, “I can’t wear my ring because it doesn’t fit anymore.”
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Mediterranean food and appreciate the myriad of scientific studies that demonstrate its benefits. In this blog post, I will share what the scientific community has to say about OA and the Mediterranean diet (MDiet).
First up, I found a study on the benefits of olives. In a 2017 study published in Nutrients, researchers found that olive oil and its polyphenols (organic compounds) can potentially treat OA. Olives have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which are two major benefits of this delicious fruit. Yes, olives are fruit. In the first two human studies mentioned, study participants applied ointment or virgin olive oil to their aching knee and hand joints for 2-4 weeks. Overall, participants experienced less pain. While the studies were limited, researchers concluded that olives used on their own or in conjunction with other approaches such as exercise could slow down OA’s progression.
Next, I read a 2018 study in Nutrients on OA and the MDiet. The researchers’ goal was to study the links between MDiet and OA. They noticed a “protector effect” on participants who had higher adherence to the MDiet, possibly due to its polyphenols’ ability to counteract inflammation and cartilage destruction. There was a positive association between those participants and a lower prevalence of OA. They also led a higher quality of life than participants who did not follow the MDiet.
While we will need more studies that address the links between the MDiet and OA, as a primary care physician, I can recommend making some healthy swaps that can introduce you to the MDiet without drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Instead of eating cereal for breakfast (which may contain more sugar than you think!), try dishing up instant oats with a banana or strawberries for natural sweetness;
Put your store-bought honey mustard salad dressing aside and make your own with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper to taste;
Swap out processed snacks during the day with mixed nuts;
Prepare simple homemade snacks for on-the-go days to lower the temptation of running to the store in search of convenience food.
Because the symptoms of OA can worsen if you are overweight, I recommend trying to maintain a healthy weight. One way to eat less is to try eating without distractions like TV or your phone. Getting regular exercise is important too, and remember that you can discuss workout plans tailored to your age and OA pain with a personal trainer, physical therapist, or doctor. I often suggest aquatic therapy or swimming to my patients with arthritic aches and pains. They often come back and tell me that it helps them feel better. Maybe that can work for you?
Head on over to my Thrive column if you want to discover other ways that the MDiet diet can make a positive impact in your life beyond OA prevention and treatment. Do you have concerns or questions about going Med or need coping strategies for joint pain? Reach out to me via DM on Twitter or Instagram @ReyzanShali!
I love this snack since the moment I heard about it. It’s super easy to do and it’s ideal to substitute all those crunchy snacks we like to have while watching series or catching up with friends after a long working week.