Showing posts with label Nina Regevik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nina Regevik. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

How to Make Food Your “Farmacy” for Optimal Health

By Nina Regevik, M.D., FACP, ABIHM
Co-Director, Division of Integrative Health, Medical Director, Division of HIV Services

Research continues to show how important our food is for the maintenance of our health and for disease prevention. Evidence exists showing that most of the common diseases we face such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and obesity are directly linked to dietary factors. Perhaps even more importantly, life expectancy overall is greater in those who have healthy diets.

There are a couple of easy rules to follow in order to ensure that your diet is healthy. Eat mostly plants, the more colorful, the better, and foods that come from above or below the ground, not from boxes or cans. This includes beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, among others. If animal products are part of your diet, be sure to use pasture raised organics if at all possible. Organic produce is more expensive, but buying less animal products makes the organics more affordable. 

Phytochemicals are found only in plants. They protect both the plant and the person who eats it from disease. Some of the more common phytochemicals are allicin, garlic, anthocyanins (i.e., blueberries, black soybeans, acai, eggplant, red cabbage), and bioflavonoids (i.e., tea, cocoa, banana, citrus fruit, onions, parsley). The list goes on and the names get longer, but fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and pulses (legumes), are all rich in them. Vitamins and minerals are also found in these foods and are essential to life. Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for optimal health and cannot be made by our bodies. Certain seafood is a great source, including salmon, sardines, and mackerel, as are some plants; flaxseed and beans are a few. 

Nutritional information can seem complex and overwhelming but by following some simple guidelines, you can help prevent disease and stay healthier. If you have questions about your diet, discuss with your health care provider. Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine team members can help answer your nutrition and diet questions.

Click here for more information about Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Learning Garden

By Nina K. Regevik, M.D., FACP, ABIHM

Co-Director, Division of Integrative Health
Medical Director, Division of HIV Services

Gardening is a passion of mine. I like to think of the garden as our “farmacy” because there are so many nutrients in the veggies and herbs we grow. We started The Learning Garden, an on-site vegetable garden at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center - Perth Amboy, to educate children and adults about container gardening and growing vegetables and herbs. It gives us a way to encourage healthy eating for our team members, patients and the community. The Learning Garden is overseen by the Integrative Health Services team and a Master Gardener. We are serious about gardening, but we have a lot of serious fun!

This is our hospital garden’s third season and it’s off to a great start. Before we even began planting this spring, we noticed a bunch of red and purple-fleshed potatoes sprouting from spuds we must have missed harvesting last year. If this happens to you, no need to worry because the potatoes will probably re-seed over the winter and grow into a whole new plant the next year. Our mixed lettuces did the same thing. They went to seed and re-sprouted early this spring, just as our Master Gardener, Connie Elek, predicted they would.

Besides a variety of vegetables and herbs, we planted Nasturtiums with edible flowers and leaves to add a bright orange color to our garden and a peppery taste to salads. They are also high in Vitamins A, C, and D. Sunflowers line the perimeter of the garden. Those large edible heads are filled with super nutritious seeds rich in bone-healthy minerals magnesium and copper and cancer fighting selenium.

You may have pulled this “weed” in your garden (see photo) from between your patio stones. Well pull no more! It’s a mega-nutrient. Purslane is its name and huge doses of omega 3’s is its game! My sources say there is not another plant that has more of these healthy heart oils than purslane. It also has six-times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. Toss it in your salads for a crunchy nutrient boost.

Unfortunately, most of our commercially available fatty fish have a lot of toxins. If you are going to eat them, do some damage control. We planted cilantro, a flavorful herb which is used in many cuisines. Try it in your fish dishes. It helps to prevent the absorption of heavy metals, especially when eating large fatty fish such as commercially available canned tuna.

How you water your garden is just as important as the amount of sunlight and the soil you use (by the way, we like organic mushroom mix soil). We chose an under-soil soaker system to save the planet’s water as well as to get the water directly to the roots where it is needed. And remember to water even if it rains. Rainwater slides off the leaves and misses the roots.

Stop by any Thursday from noon – 1:00 p.m. with your gardening questions and to learn from our Master Gardener. Registration is required by calling 732-324-5257.