Boost Brain Health with M.I.N.D Diet

The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a hybrid of the heavily studied heart- healthy Mediterranean and DASH diets, with modifications based on scientific literature and data specifically relevant to nutrition that benefits the brain. The MIND diet has been associated with improved cognitive thinking and has shown to both lower the risk and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
– the leading cause of dementia.

Through cognitive assessments such as episodic memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability and perceptual speed, researchers found that those following the MIND diet significantly lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). Those who strictly followed the diet cut their risk by 53%, while even those who stuck to the diet moderately well still reduced their risk by 35%.

The MIND diet is centred around natural, plant-based foods, with a focus on brain- healthy whole foods, such as berries and green leafy vegetables, and a limited intake of animal-based and saturated fats.

Limit “unfriendly” brain foods – the less the better

• Butter/margarine – less than 1 tablespoon butter/day, avoid margarine
• Fast or fried food – less than once/week
• Red meat – less than 4 times/week
• Cheese – less than once/week
• Pastries and sweets – less than 5 times/week

Is fruit considered brain-healthy?

Fruits, a common recommendation in heart-healthy diets, haven’t been shown to slow cognitive decline or prevent dementia, with the exception of strawberries, and especially, blueberries. Other than eating berries at least twice a week, the MIND diet does not include recommendations for other types of fruit.

Components of the M.I.N.D Diet

Green Leafy vegetables – at least 6 servings/week (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Other colourful vegetables – at least 1 serving/day (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Berries – at least 2 servings/week (1 serving = 1 ounce, about 1/4 cup)
Nuts – at least 5 servings/week (1 serving = 1 ounce, about 1/4 cup)
Legumes –  at least 4 servings/week (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked)
Whole grains – at least 3 servings/day (1 serving = 1 slice 100% whole-grain bread; 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta or oatmeal; 1 cup 100% whole grain ready to eat breakfast cereal)
Fish – at least 1 serving/week (1 serving = 3 ounces cooked)
Poultry – at least 2 servings/week (1 serving = 3 ounces cooked)
Olive oil – use as your primary cooking oil
Wine – 1 serving/day (1 serving = 5 ounces)

Custom Blended Remedies for Everyone

In the 23 years that I have been seeing patients, I have gathered a wide range of remedies that I trust and recommended wholeheartedly to patients.  Starting now, I will be making many of these remedies available to everyone, not just patients. Dr.Cheryl LycetteOver the next few weeks, I will be adding new information on my website and sending out newsletters so you will know exactly what is available.  My many custom capsule formulas will be available for you, your friends and your family; as well, you can have custom combined herbal tinctures and Bach Flower remedies.  This allows you and the people dear to you to have a remedy made for your exact needs and you can have confidence in the quality of what you are buying.

be well

Dr. Cheryl

Spring Cleaning with Acupuncture

Dr.Cheryl LycetteSpring is the perfect time of year to cleanse your body from your winter hibernation and get everything working efficiently so that you can fully enjoy the warmer weather.

I’m now offering Acupuncture for Detoxification & Organ Balancing.

In this 40 minute session, I will use various Acupuncture points to balance all your organs.  As well, I use “cupping” on your back and shoulders to stimulate circulation and detoxification that has the added bonus of decreasing muscular tension.

Although one session can make a great difference, for maximum effect I recommend three sessions in a row, with one week between each session.  Each session costs $90 and I provide a receipt for health insurance re-imbursement.

If you are having seasonal allergies please make sure to let me know as there are a few points that I can add to help.

be well,

Dr. Cheryl

NEW UltraMeal Weight Loss Program

Easier + Cheaper

After much research, I have decided to use a product called Ultrameal by the supplement company Metagenics. I love this product line. I used it years ago and it is even better than it was then. These shakes and bars are meant to be low calorie meal replacements. The shakes come in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry and the bars are in chocolate and vanilla almond. They do not use any artificial ingredients, are cheaper than Ideal Protein foods and when used as a meal replacement do not require any additional vitamins as they are contained in the food themselves.

be well,
Dr. Cheryl

read more about Ultrameal / read more about Ultrameal Bars / read more about Ultrameal Rice Bars

Battle the Flu

In the last few weeks, there have been a lot of patients suffering with the flu; I have some advise and remedies.

Influenzinum, a homeopathic remedy, can be used to prevent the flu. Take two pills dissolved under the tongue once monthly, from September to May. Up to two more doses may be used, at any one time, if exposed to the flu. Many people find this to be equivalent to the flu shot in effectiveness. (90 pills / $12)

Echinacea, if it contains both the Angustifolia and Purpurea forms, is strongly antiviral. The preferred form is tincture and for an adult, 20 drops is the typical dose. ($20 / 50ml.)

There are three main ways to use echinacea.

To prevent – if you are surrounded by sick people and waiting for your turn, take Echinacea twice daily.

If fighting – on the first sign that you are fighting something take it every one to two hours.

If sick – If you are feeling off for a day, assume that you have the virus and use the Echinacea four times daily.

Using Echinacea while sick will shorten your illness and make sure that you do not acquire a secondary bacterial infection.

Keep your dairy and sugar consumption low, if sick or trying to prevent getting sick. They both lead to extra mucus, which is a great breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, and sugar suppresses immune function. Many people increase intake of fruit juice for the vitamin C, but the amount of natural sugar in this can also decrease immune function. Stick to eating the actual fruit.

The Chinese remedy Yin Chiao is excellent for the early stages of a viral infection. It is specifically helpful when chills and nausea, are present. Take four pills three to four times a day. (120 pills / $7)

be well,
Dr. Cheryl

Spring Clean Your Body

The idea of cleansing or detoxifying the body has been around a very long time and is a big part of where the foundations of Naturopathic medicine come from.

Fasting is very old school and basically where people do not eat at all and only drink water .  At this point this is far too dangerous as we are all too toxic,  except for the rare instances where someone is in medical care and monitored.

What you can reasonably look at is a cleanse, which is also a type of detoxification.  Where you are changing some of your intake to make it cleaner and easier for your body to use.

In my practice once someone is well I  suggest doing a cleanse,  once to twice yearly,  typically at the change of season to keep themselves healthy. This is based on the idea that one of the main reasons that the body becomes unwell is that it becomes overwhelmed with the toxins that we come into contact everyday in our food, water, air and on our skin and can then not perform it’s normal functioning.

The most common times to do a cleanse are during the fall and spring.  In Chinese medicine the fall is when the lungs or immune system are at their weakest and the spring is when the digestion and liver function are weaker.  By doing a cleanse during these times you can strengthen these parts of the body.

The spring in Chinese Medicine is ruled by the liver and gallbladder. The health of the liver shows itself through the health of the eyes and vision and also through the bowel movements.  When the liver is overwhelmed and under functioning, symptoms that can show themselves include;  seasonal allergies, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, red or tired eyes,  worsening vision, skin outbreaks of rashes or acne and overall sluggishness.

Foods and spices that I would suggest increasing for a Spring cleanse include; curry, cayenne pepper, ginger, black pepper, dark greens (cooked or raw),  the stinky vegetables like; broccoli,  cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus and  also  beets, garlic and onions.

A really great mild way to strengthen digestion and also the efficiency of the liver is to have the juice of 1/2 a lemon unsweetened with water in the morning, 15- 20 minutes before breakfast.

The following are a few more things that you can do during this cleanse and in general as daily practices to encourage different parts of your body to function more efficiently.

Something that can be helpful for your lymphatic system is dry skin brushing.  Using a dry facecloth or something more abrasive like a loofah sponge,  use light brisk strokes always heading toward your heart.  Your skin will feel warm or look pink as a sign to let you know that you have done enough.

Epsom salt baths are fantastic at not only helping with achy muscles but also encouraging toxins to be eliminated through the skin and therefore giving the liver and kidneys less work to do.

As long as sugar is not in the first 3 ingredients of a food do not be concerned.  It is best to avoid artificial sweeteners like Aspartame as they make the liver work harder which in part is what we are trying to avoid with a cleanse. Stevia or agave syrup are great substitutes for sugar and have a balancing effect on the glycemic index.

Like when I mentioned that one of the main reasons it is believed that we get sick is being full of toxins, another is that our body has chronic inflammation (unlike acute) which causes irritation to our tissues and has the ability to turn genes on that we inherited from our kin, then expressing illnesses that our family is prone to.  By keeping blood sugar stable, we avoid chronic inflammation of the tissue. Besides keeping sugar and most other sweeteners low in our diet the other two main ways to keep blood sugar stable is by having close to 30g daily of fiber and having protein almost every time we eat (12- 15g for a snack and 25- 30g for a meal).

Our liver is our main organ of elimination.  Alcohol, along with caffeine and aspirin are the only substances that we ingest that do not need to be digested before they are used.  They are actually able to be absorbed directly into the stomach lining and then go  straight to the liver.  Ever notice how quickly you feel alcohol if you have some on an empty stomach?  Anything that get’s absorbed into the body that quickly makes it work harder.

When I talk about avoiding caffeine, this includes the obvious coffee and black tea but also,  green tea, white tea and chocolate.  To help you avoid caffeine withdrawal the tea yerbe mate is great and contains a chemical called mateine which binds with our caffeine receptors so that our body thinks it is getting caffeine. It provides a bit of a lift but is easier to process and non-habit forming.

Something to keep in mind if you are feeling run down now or in the future when you are considering a cleanse,  is that there are times when it is not suitable to cleanse.  The body either wants to be strengthened or cleaned.  And strengthening is always done first. If you are considering doing a stronger cleanse than mentioned above you might want to consider coming in to see me so that I can not only make sure your body is ready but also give you advice regarding the best one to choose.

be well,

Dr. Cheryl

Is Everyone B12 Deficient?

Dr. Cheryl Lycette is now doing B12 injections at the Be Well Spa in HalifaxI like to keep learning; my latest study is Vitamin B12.  A great deal of research has gathered since I last read about this nutrient.

What I found has prompted me to add B12 injections to my Naturopathic practice. The injections cost $20 (taxes included) are are available by appointment.  Please call my office at 902/ 422-2767 to schedule your time.

Here is what can interfere with you absorbing B12;

History of candida, parasites or issues with digestion like Crohn’s or Colitis
Decreased stomach acid (a common issue with aging)
Birth control pill or hormonal replacement therapy
Daily or excessive occasional use of alcohol
Cholesterol lowering medications
Heartburn or reflux medications
Vegan or vegetarian diet
Gastric bypass surgery
HIV medications
Nitrous oxide
Nicotine use

Quite the list. That’s why I’m now left wondering, “Is everyone B12 deficient?”

Here are the health issues Vitamin B12 is known to help;

Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention
Numbness and tingling
Restless leg syndrome
Rigid or stiff muscles
Weight management
MS-like symptoms
Blocked arteries
High cholesterol
Sleep disorders
Nerve damage
Heart disease
Canker sores
Vision issues

Here’s more of what I learned about B12;

Vitamin B12 is unusual in that it is both water soluble (we pee out what we don’t need) and it can partially be stored by the liver.

B12 is only available by eating animal based foods i.e. eggs, dairy and meat, although small amounts are present in fermented foods due to the bacteria.

Vitamin B12 is in charge of the proper running of a lot of systems in the body including;  cell reproduction, blood formation,  healthy nervous system, growth of the body, carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common due to its unique requirement for absorption. This vitamin can only be absorbed when ingested if it is able to bind onto Intrinsic Factor, which is produced by the same cell in the stomach that produces Hydrochloric Acid. Hydrochloric or stomach acid production decreases with age and often goes undiagnosed, leading to a deficiency of B12. The most profound deficiency of Vitamin B12  is Pernicious Anemia where a person is lacking Intrinsic Factor.

In Canada, Medical Doctors can test your B12 levels by a blood test and the average accepted range of normal for this test is 110 – 1100 pg/ml. This range is enormous.  To add to the inaccuracy of this test it only measures how much B12 is floating around in the blood and does not accurately reflect intracellular concentration (what is actually being used).  Years ago, in the United States, it was acknowledged that this range of normal was far too large and that many people who tested “normal’  were having very obvious symptoms of a B12 deficiency, therefore the accepted range for this test was made much smaller.  After all of my reading, I have decided to pay minimal attention to the range of normal as I want to help people achieve optimal health not just avoid a B12 deficiency.

When a person is found to be B12 deficient by the blood test, their MD will usually give them injections to bring their result back into the range of normal.  Cyano-co-balamin is the synthetic form of B12 that your MD will use for this purpose.  As the name “Cyano-”  eludes to,  this form of B12 has cyanide in it, which once injected is separated from the B12 and left for the body to remove. I am choosing to not use this form as it has preservatives that might cause a reaction and I am not comfortable with the cyanide component. Also, this form of B12 is not active and must be converted to another form of B12 to be useful (which some people in the population are incapable of doing).

I have decided to go with methyl-co-balamin which is the form we naturally make when we are able to convert it from our food. This is the most effective form of B12 and is the active form that the body uses in hundreds of metabolic pathways.  It is the fastest and longest acting form of B12 and is especially beneficial for the nervous system.  The company that I have been able to source this B12 from makes it preservative-free and it is very concentrated.

So are we all B12 deficient?  The above lists sure cover a lot of people.  If you see yourself in any of these categories, consider the following.  B12 is water soluble.  If you do not need it,  you will urinate it out in the next few days and no harm will done. Within a few hours to a few days after a B12 injection if this is what your body has been looking for,  you will have improvement.

As to how often you may need a B12 injection;  methyl-co-balamin can stay in the body for a week to a few months. It entirely depends on how deficient you are when you begin using it and how quickly you use it up.  Your body will let you know and I am happy to discuss your treatment options with you.

See you soon,

Dr. Cheryl