Ask Dr. Nancy

Q: What exactly is PANDIS and what foods can help alliviate symptoms?

                       –A: PANDIS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. This autoimmune reaction disrupts a basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit and generates obsessive- compulsive symptoms (OCDrecoverycenters.com). The proposed link between infection and these disorders is that an initial autoimmune reaction to a GABHS infection produces antibodies that continues to interfere with basal ganglia function, causing symptom exacerbation’s which may include a tic, obsessive compulsive disorders, anxiety and even turrets syndrome. Though this is one of many hypothesis for the disease, PANDIS is progressive and children living with symptoms are struggling with simple every day activities. PANDIS is also a psychiatric disorder and is very much induced by the abnormal neurons’ interactions with the body’s constant internal combat.

Though there are specific cognitive therapies for PANDIS, very few food related therapies are promoted. The following guidelines are also beneficial for people living with anxiety, OCD and high stress, as well as many other autoimmune disorders:

-Diets high in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C, which support your body’s ability to resist infections and disease. Think dark leafy vegetables, colorful fruits and vegetables and superfoods.

-Fish, walnuts, hemp-seed, flax-seed and omega 3 oils. Cold-water wild fish, such as salmon, herring, lake trout, halibut and mackerel, ground flax-seed, chia seeds, hemp-seeds and walnuts are prime sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential fats that play an important role in brain function.
-Raw, organic dairy products, such as goats milk. cow’s milk and Greek yogurt, (probiotic rich) contains good amounts of protein, which promotes blood sugar balance and the amino acid tryptophan (also found in organic turkey) which promotes calmness.

Sprouted, whole grains, including millet, oats, barley, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth. These provide a more milder impact on blood sugar than processed and highly refined grains.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, LiveStrong.com

Q: Are halogen cookers safe and healthy?

                       -A: I have read a lot about halogen cookers and though from a marketing standpoint, the construction material, appearance, low power usage and output, quick cooking, amazing heat range and varying functions such as roasting,  rotisserie, searing, steamer, and broiler will dazzle any chef, there is one particular health concern I would like to highlight.

When cooking foods at such high temperatures as 500-700 degrees (no matter what source of cook prep or cook wear), especially when browning or caramelizing, burning and charring may and most often do occur. These carcinogens have been known to be a direct link to cancer. My suggestion is to read the manual (all halogen cookers are different) and watch over your food closely and experiment with it. Because cooking time is reduced, people can burn meats very quickly, which may present cancer risk if eaten frequently.

Q: My father is possibly facing the diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer.  What are some plants/fruit/grain whatever that might help reduce the multiple tumors they’ve found in his chest?

                         -A: I have a few suggestions of holistic therapies regarding living with lung cancer and abstaining from modern western medicine treatment (ie. radiation and chemotherapty): 1. liquid zeolight (http://www.lungcancerfightingstrategies.com/liquid-zeolite.html)

2. Immediately, stay away from animal fats, animal by products, trans fats (partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats)

3. Eat dark leafy greens and juice live greens everyday. (kale, mustard greens, chard, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, limes, ginger).

4. Take probiotics first thing in the morning on empty stomach.

5. Try to stay away from acidic foods: alcohol (none), coffee, sodas, fruit/sugary  juices, and artificial colors, dyes, preservatives, process foods, sugar (especially artificial sugars) and corn syrup.

6. Meditate/Pray

7. Exercise/Body movement/ Walk outside everyday and get sun!

8. Get rest.

9. Support System.

Dr. Oz argues that the following are also beneficial: Certain foods, eaten in the correct portions and frequency, can provide cancer-starving benefits. Below are 5 foods to eat that can prevent cancer growth: 1.Bok Choy This type of Chinese cabbage contains brassinin; a powerful cancer-fighter, also found in broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Bok Choy should be eaten 3 times a week, in 1/2 cup servings to obtain its full benefits. 2.Cooked Tomatoes have more cancer-fighting properties than raw tomatoes. Both contain the molecule lycopene, but heating the tomato changes its chemical structure and makes the benefits more readily available to your body. You should eat 2-3 (1/2 cup) servings of cooked tomatoes a week. 3.Flounder This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. Three 6-ounce servings a week is ideal. 4.Strawberries The antioxidants in this berry help fight cancers. You should eat 1 cup a day, including the juice. 5.Artichokes contain 3 different cancer-fighting molecules. Enjoy ¼ cup of hearts per day.

Q: I’m trying to get my body fat below 10%, and I noticed in the past when I eliminated dairy (well that’s a strong word when considering all products that contain dairy), let’s say “significantly cut down” is when I was leanest.  My goal is to build muscle, gain weight, and still enjoy dairy products.  Is this possible, and which are the best?  Thanks in advance. 

                                                                                                     –Mike C., Southern California

                         A: Simply put, can people have dairy and still lose belly fat? The answer is YES. Cutting back on the amount of dairy consumed can signal the body to make more fat cells (according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). When people do not consume enough calcium, the body tries to hold on to what is there. Eating too much red meat, animal protein or acidic foods cause the body to leach out calcium from the bones. This triggers the release of a compound called calcitriol, which increases the production of fat cells. If you want fewer fat cells, eating extra calcium rich foods (remember your greens too that are packed with more calcium than dairy products….), calcium supplements, Greek or Keefer yogurt, tofu, salmon or sardines with the bones, and nuts should suppress calcitriol, which breaks down the fat and makes your fat cells leaner and your tummy flatter. I recommend limiting overall dairy intake because dairy tends to be high in calories and sodium. Don’t forget to increase cardio exercises, weight train regularly, and do your ab crunches as well as watching your overall consumption of calories, sugars, salts and fats!

 

Q: Is a hydrogen peroxide remedy safe for babies?

                                                                                                         -Yoshika H., -Tustin, California

 

                  A: Hydrogen Peroxide is considered safe to administer to infants and babies into the ears, however they may not like the bubbling and mild stinging. Be careful not to get Hydrogen Peroxide in the eyes and if this happens, flush immediately with water.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide is also considered safe to swab in babies’ mouths with a wash cloth.

 

Q: Do you know if organic eggs have to be from non-gmo feed? Usually they say “all natural vegetarian feed” but what does that mean and is there soy or corn in it?

                                                                                                         -Laura G., -Florida

 

                 A: Organic egg production is the production of eggs through organic means. In this process, the poultry are fed organic feed. The poultry must have access to the outdoors and are in a cage-free environment. Organic egg producers cannot use ant…ibiotics except during an infectious outbreak. Only natural molting can occur within the flock; forced molting is not allowed. Organic feed is grown by certified organic farmers. To become a certified organic farmer, the crop must be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The crop must be free of GMOs and synthetic fertilization for three years before it can be certified for organic usage. If the crop is contaminated by cross-fertilization, the crop is rendered useless for organic grading. Finally, there can be no animal by-products fed to the poultry.

Just because foods are labeled “organic” does not mean that the products were produced without the use of soy or corn. There are great resources on the web that give lists of “soy free” and “corn free” products if you want to research them…. Because of the low regulation and the newness of the “organic” industry, labeling of such “soy” and “corn” among other ingredients is not mandatory. Companies that do, however, manufacture such amazing foods will most def. post and label that on their ingredients list.

 

Q: What are the best snack foods to eat for late night cravings?

                                                                                                                – George K.,  Tampa, Florida

 

                 A: Try as much as possible to consume your last meal or snack about 2-3 hours before bedtime to best ensure your quality of sleep and proper digestion.

The best healthy, late-night food options include: cottage cheese with live and active cultures and probiotics, Greek yogurt with organic blueberries or strawberries, a handful of nutrient rich pistachio or almonds, cup of steamed or broccoli, a hard boiled egg or two, air popped popcorn with a little salt,  cup of warm chamomile tea or even a broth soup, a scoop of almond butter or cup of unsweetened almond milk with agave or stevia for sweetness, two rye crackers with hummus, a cube or two of mozzarella cheese, a cup of high fiber bran cereal with skim milk, or a few slices of apples and dollop of peanut butter.

 

Q: What are symptoms of the flu and how long is a person with the flu virus contagious?

-Lynn, Los Angeles, CA

 

A: According to the Center for Disease and Control Prevention, symptoms of flu include:

• fever (usually high)

• headache

• extreme tiredness

• dry cough

• sore throat

• runny or stuffy nose

•muscle aches

• Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

Although the term “stomach flu” is sometimes used to describe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, these illnesses are caused by certain other viruses, bacteria, or possibly parasites, and are rarely related to influenza (flu).

The period when an infected person is contagious depends on the age and health of the person. Studies show that most healthy adults may be able to infect others from 1 day prior to becoming sick and for 5 days after they first develop symptoms. Some young children with weakened immune systems may be contagious for longer than a week.

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

 

Q:  Will spending hours on my computer damage my eyesight or cause me to go blind?

-Rebecca, Orange County, CA

A: Eye care specialists have noticed problems related to extensive staring at computer screens, such as eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, and difficulty focusing, However, extensive testing has shown that eyestrain will not permanently damage the eyes or cause a loss of vision. However, it can be very uncomfortable and lead to a loss of productivity. To reduce eye discomfort, it is recommended to:

    • Make sure your primary light source (such as a window) is not shining into your face or directly onto the screen.
    • Tilt the screen slightly to eliminate reflections or glare.
    • Make sure your computer screen is not too close to your face.
    • Position the screen so that it is either at eye level or slightly lower.
    • Reduce the contrast and brightness of your screen by adjusting the settings.
    • Frequently look away from the screen and focus on faraway objects.
    • Have regular eye examinations to check that blurring, headaches and other associated problems are not caused by any underlying disorders.

Another common problem associated with computer use is repetitive stress injury (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome. RSIs occur when a certain muscle or tendon is repeatedly overused or kept in an awkward position. If you spend long hours at a computer, you might want to take some of the following steps to prevent RSIs:

    • Use a firm, adjustable, and comfortable chair. Adjust your chair height so that your thighs are horizontal, your feet are flat on the floor, and the backs of your knees are slightly higher than the seat of your chair. The back of the chair should support your lower back.
    • Relax your shoulders. Your upper arms and forearm should form a right angle, with your wrist and hand in roughly a straight line.
    • Type on the computer keyboard as you would play the piano, with fingers up and down. Don’t rest your wrists and move your fingers sideways to type.
    • Position the mouse at the same height as your keyboard. When you slide the mouse around, move your entire arm and not just your wrist.

Don’t forget to get up and move! Take breaks of at least five to ten minutes every hour or so to walk around and stretch. Stretch your lower back by standing up and pulling each knee to your chest, holding that position for a few seconds.

 

Q: How risky is it to cut the mold off food and eat the rest?

-T. H., New York

A:  If you can see a mold growing, there can be other microbes in it as well. It really is not worth making yourself sick. There are a few foods that have exceptions to this general rule, such as cheese and berries.

The low moisture content of semi-hard and hard cheeses and their dense structure means mold will usually survive only on the surface, rather than spreading invisibly into the cheese. So it should be safe to cut around the affected area and eat the rest of block. As for berries, you can toss the bad berries and eat the rest of the box.

But many other foods, including moldy bread, are better off thrown away. Mold can spread quickly, so there may be microscopic amounts in parts that appear pristine. Not only might the mould be growing beyond the areas you can see, mold growing on a vegetable or piece of fruit can also weaken its skin, making it more vulnerable than usual to harmful toxins like E. coli (which could cause a horrible bout of diarrhea!)

Q: What are some symptoms of food poisoning?

-Emily, Laguna Beach, CA

A: Food poisoning is caused by certain bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins.

Bacteria may get into your food in different ways:

    • Meat or poultry may come into contact with intestinal bacteria when being processed
    • Water that is used during growing or shipping may contain animal or human waste
    • Improper food handling or preparation

Food poisoning symptoms will vary with the source of contamination, but most types of food poisoning will cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Watery diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain and cramps
    • Fever

Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days or possibly even weeks later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from one to 10 days.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, you may need to seek medical attention.

    • Vomiting blood, or frequent episodes of vomiting that interfere with your ability to keep liquids down
    • Severe diarrhea for more than three days
    • Blood in your bowel movements
    • Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
    • An oral temperature higher than 101.5 F (38.6 C)
    • Signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Trouble swallowing
    • Double vision
    • Muscle weakness that progresses downward

If you suspect food poisoning, also contact your local health department. Your report can help the health department identify a potential outbreak and may help prevent other people from getting sick. You may need to describe what you ate, where got the food you think is making you sick, when you got sick and your symptoms.

 

Q: What are the causes of kidney stones and what can I do to prevent them?

– J.W., California

A: According to the Oxalosis and Hyperoxluria Foundation, the causes of kidney stones are trivial to doctors and depends on individual cases. While certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible, scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible. Genetics does play a part, however. A person with a family history of kidney stones may be more likely to develop stones. Urinary tract infections, kidney disorders such as cystic kidney diseases, and certain metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism are also linked to stone formation. In addition, more than 70 percent of people with a rare hereditary disease called renal tubular acidosis develop kidney stones.

Cystinuria and hyperoxaluria are two other rare, inherited metabolic disorders that often cause kidney stones. In cystinuria, too much of the amino acid cystine, which does not dissolve in urine, is voided, leading to the formation of stones made of cystine. In patients with hyperoxaluria, the body produces too much oxalate, a salt. When the urine contains more oxalate than can be dissolved, the crystals settle out and form stones.

Hypercalciuria is inherited, and it may be the cause of stones in more than half of patients. Calcium is absorbed from food in excess and is lost into the urine. This high level of calcium in the urine causes crystals of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate to form in the kidneys or elsewhere in the urinary tract.

Additional causes of kidney stones are hyperuricosuria, which is a disorder of uric acid metabolism; gout; excess intake of vitamin D; urinary tract infections; and blockage of the urinary tract. Certain diuretics, commonly called water pills, and calcium-based antacids may increase the risk of forming kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium in the urine. Calcium oxalate stones may also form in people who have chronic inflammation of the bowel or who have had an intestinal bypass operation, or ostomy surgery. As mentioned earlier, struvite stones can form in people who have had a urinary tract infection. People who take the protease inhibitor indinavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection, may also be at increased risk of developing kidney stones.

Your health care provider may better inform you on foods that contain a high-oxalate contents and suggest lowering the amount that you consume:

•rhubarb

•spinach

•beets

•swiss chard

•wheat germ

•soybean crackers

•peanuts

•okra

•chocolate

•black Indian tea

•sweet potatoes

•grits

•grapes

•celery

•green pepper

•red raspberries

•fruit cake

•strawberries

•marmalade

•liver

 

Q: Can drinking alcohol make people fat?

-Scott K., Phoenix, AZ

A: Yes. The primary reason alcohol makes people gain weight is that most alcoholic drinks people consume have a lot of sugar in them. This increases the overall calorie intake. In addition, sugar turns to fat more quickly than some other edible items. This quick-forming fat stays with us in the belly area, as well as on the hips and thighs. Some people have found that the extra fat appears on the underside of the arms as well.

Each person reacts differently to this sugar/fat connection, so the extra weight will not always appear on the belly. It’s certainly common enough for people to believe that drinking beer and liquor give us a “beer belly.” This is not always true, but it happens often enough to make it an issue. One of the reasons is that the male of the human species naturally tends to add body fat in the belly area. Men who consume alcohol regularly are almost ensuring that the amount of fat on their bellies will increase. Women however gather their extra fat in and around the hips and upper thighs. So, women who consume alcohol may see extra weight in those areas.

The key to solving this alcohol/fat problem is to drink less alcohol. Keeping the intake of alcoholic beverages to a minimum will help control extra body fat. A general guideline states that enjoying one or two drinks during the day will not necessarily create a fat problem. Drinking too much alcohol regularly will certainly add extra fat weight to the body.

People who need to be on a restricted-calorie diet should definitely pay attention to the amount of alcohol they drink. The calories in alcohol are absorbed directly to the entire body because alcohol passes on to the body without being digested as food is. Since it goes immediately into the blood stream and body, it will need to be burned by activity immediately, otherwise settling into the parts of the body that are natural fat storehouses for each individual. Alcohol is an immediate energy source for the body but in a short time it becomes a source of extra fat. This is true for clear alcohol like, vodka and gin and tonic, as well.

Q: I get frequent nose bleeds. How do I get rid of them?

-June V., Sarasota, FL

A: Nose bleeds can have several external causes, ranging from physical injury to disease and illness. In addition, some people suffer from occasional nose bleeds or even regular nose bleeding that should be addressed immediately and stopped. With all the different factors that can contribute to nose bleed it is important to look at this condition from a couple of very different points of view.
First of all, we need to know how to stop a nose bleed caused by a blow to the face or other injury. In this case it is important to keep the blood loss to a minimum, using some aggressive and effective methods. If a person suffers from regular nose bleeds because of illness or disease we are looking at a very different condition. In this latter case it is crucial to find the real cause. We have to deal with the cause and with getting rid of the nose bleed that occurs at the moment.

What to Do
Whatever the cause, there are certain steps to take to get rid of nose bleeds. Contrary to past advice, you can stop a nose bleed most of the time by leaning forward (not back). After leaning slightly forward, pinch the nose just below the bone, effectively closing off the path for the blood to run out. This should stop most common bleeding from the nose.
If blood continues to flow it may be necessary to pinch the nose nearer the top to help remove a clot or other obstruction. Keep in mind that the tiny blood vessels inside the nose are very sensitive. Sit down as soon as possible and bend forward. Pinch the nostrils as mentioned earlier. Breathe through your mouth. Do not lie down unless you are feeling faint and might injure yourself if you fall. Do not blow your nose – this should allow the blood to clot.

Repeated Nose Bleeds
If your nose bleeds regularly or if you have a family member that suffers from nose bleeding on a regular basis it is important to find out what the real cause might be. Some people develop nose bleeds because of allergies in spring or summer. Sometimes our noses bleed during winter when the air outside or in the house is too dry. It is important to keep the nose tissue moist to avoid bleeding problems.
Try a humidifier. If the spring/summer allergy conditions are causing the problem you may have to stay inside and control the air temperature and humidity. Air conditioners help remove allergens from the air, but you may have to use a specific type of air filter to get the best results. A small amount of Vaseline to moisten nasal tissues might help.
If your nose bleeds are a regular occurrence you should probably visit your health care professional. Give the doctor details about when your nose bleeds and how you deal with it.
Source: The Mayo Clinic


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