Last thing I knew
it was July - now it's October. Not sure how that happens.
My dog loves this weather and can't wait to drag me out
until the winter, I don't mind. It's the "closet changing
thing" that gets to me. I'm already stressing it. The
story of my life feels intrinsically tied to a lot of closet
changing. If you don't live in a big city or in a small place,
be grateful. It feels constant.
This month we'll report on the latest
in women's health and a look at how to get better sleep -
especially if you have trouble sleeping. If you've ever taken
Ambien, the sleeping pill - I think this finding is really
interesting. Finally, a closer look at flax and flax oil,
maybe we can shine a little more light on why the industry
and nutritionists are always touting this seed/oil.
WOMEN AT RISK OF GENETIC BREAST
need to know this. It's not recommended yet, but the research
is showing that women who may be carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2
gene mutations will get better detection by an MRI compared
to a mammogram. In a study out last month in the Journal of
American Medical Association, a Canadian group looked at all
ways of detecting breast cancer including ultra sound and
clinical breast examination. Following a Dutch study that
found similar results, 17 cancers were detected with an MRI
in a group of 236 women vs. 8 in the mammography. 7 were detected
by ultra sound and 2 by breast exam. Regular MRI screening
for these women is not being recommended yet because it has
not been determined if the tool actually lowers the breast
cancer mortality rate. Maybe someone needs to explain that
to me, hasn't it already been determined that early detection
is what it's all about?
For more information go to
is essential. The few times that caffeine
has kept me up (half the night) gave me a first hand understanding
of how frustrating it is for those who have a regular problem
getting to sleep - 27% of women surveyed identified getting
a good night sleep as their top priority for personal wellness.
Count me in that group. Last month, according to Harvard Medical
School, relaxation techniques and other non-drug therapies
proved better than Ambien in treating sleep onset insomnia.
The behavior therapy includes relaxation and techniques to
re-train a person's mind in order to fall asleep - the idea
is to avoid worrying about falling asleep or getting angry
about not falling asleep, which only makes it worse. Before
treatment, it took most patients about 70 minutes to get to
sleep -- one month after treatment, the Ambien folks took
45 minutes while those in the behavior therapy group took
about 34 minutes. The behavior therapy also lasts. The particulars
about the behavior therapy (what exactly do you train your
mind to think?) may be in the body of the published article
(it's about $30) or you can contact Gregg D. Jacobs at Boston's
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and maybe he will tell
Another culprit may the comfort of
your bed. If you wake up achy and stiff a lot - reconsider
how old your bed is. They are not meant to last more than
10 years. Remember when the general rule was harder is better?
Actually the science now shows that the most comfortable the
better -- with most experts recommending a firm foundation
with a soft layer on top. The best sleeping position is on
your back because your body is elongated and keeps your neck
in the most neutral position. (I think this is the worst for
snoring though) If you do sleep on your back, you need a firm
pillow - on your side you a medium and on your stomach a soft
one. Move over
all this talk is making me tired
for the article on behavior modification for sleeping.
THE POWER OF FLAX
This small seed is certainly making a comeback. And its benefits
are far from over blown. What flax is most known for is high
amounts of Omega 3's as well as a good source of Omega 6's.
It also contains the most soluable and insoluble fiber - ¼
cup seeds (then ground) will provide all the fiber you need
in a day. (25-30 grams, most Americans get 8 or 9 grams a
day) Keeping in mind that Omega 3's can not be manufactured
by the body, flax is known to be the best plant source. While
flax has much higher Omega 3 content than fish, (1/4 cup of
flour is = 9000mg) it is argued that the Omega 3 in fish is
more easily absorbed. (I have not seen that proven but I do
know that the Omega 3 in flax needs the body to convert it).
A decent ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 4:1 -- most of us
have a ratio of 20:1. That is because we get plenty of Omega
6s - it's in just about everything -- cereals, eggs, poultry,
most vegetable oils, whole-grain breads, baked goods, and
margarine to name a few. So to balance it with Omega 3's takes
a some paying attention. Adding flax seed to cereal or smoothies
or on top of cottage cheese may be just the thing.
Remember that the best way to eat flax is
to grind it, or crush it - you won't get the valuable lignans
if you don't crush it. I know I didn't mention lignans - but
it is the part of flax I really wanted to talk about -- it's
difficult not to get into the important Omega 3 aspect. Lignans
are found in many plants but it appears that flax has the
highest concentration of these as well. They are phytoestrogens,
and these appear to interact in some way with estrogen receptors.
While some phytoestrogens can be "estrogen like"
others can block or the effect of more powerful estrogens.
In this way lignans have been termed "selective estrogen
receptor modulators" or SERMS - in that they appear to
be able to do both.
In all my exposure with women with breast
cancer, it does appear that the lignans in flax have protective
properties. I know breast cancer survivors who have written
books and cookbooks based on this theory, and they are passionate
about it. It has since been shown that flax may slow the spread
of breast cancer cells in laboratory animals by inhibiting
the compounds that cause metastasis - and while it's too soon
to tell if flax can reduce the risk of breast cancer in the
first place, one thing for sure is there is nothing bad about
the seed. I also think that supplementing with flax, maybe
even more so than soy foods, is a great addition to taking
Oöna -- especially to protect against those times when
stress may cause a break through flash or two. You need 3-4
grams a day to do the job. Again, just be sure to grind it
right before you eat it.
For almost everything about flax -
go to http://www.flaxcouncil.ca
it's a Canadian site with a lot of information.
That's it for this month! As always,
check out our website for lots more information at www.oonahealth.com.
In Good Health,
The Oöna Team
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