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  • “Dignity” and Hope - World Mental Health Day

    October 09, 2015

    Mental illness will affect every single one of us.    As we progress through our life stages from pre-birth, to late adulthood and eventual death (1) every single one of us is vulnerable to mental illness or its effects.   While we may be personally spared the challenges of having a mental disorder, we may still be affected through a family member, a child, parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt/cousin/nephew; or through a member of our extended family.  Alternatively we may be affected by the experience of a traumatic event such as the 911 World Twin Towers disaster or t...

  • Caffeine - An Updated Series (Part II)

    September 02, 2015

    Caffeine - An Updated Series (Part II)  Key Points: 100% bio-availability Water and fat soluble Consumed either intravenously or orally (foods, drinks, capsules) Antagonizes adenosine receptors in the central nervous system Stimulates the central nervous system and neurotransmitter release High variability in response to caffeine  May depend on genetics, exogenous, or endogenous factors  Part II   Caffeine Chemistry & Bioavailability   Figure 1. The molecular structure of caffeine and adenosine.   Caffeine chemistry: Chemical f...

  • Caffeine - An Updated Series

    July 31, 2015

    Part I Key Points: Caffeine:  the most widely used naturally occurring substance in the world found in more than 60 plants Food/Drinks containing caffeine:   coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate/cocoa products Caffeine consumption is common in all parts of the world Coffee originated from Ethiopia (1000-1400 AD) Tea originated from China (750 AD) Cocoa originated from Mexico (1500 BC)   Figure 1. The most common dietary sources of caffeine; coffee, tea and cocoa.  Part I Caffeine Consumption        ...

  • The Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

    July 14, 2014

    The benefits of chili peppers as a condiment in cuisines worldwide have been known for several millennia.  Likely to have been introduced to the rest of the world from South America, chili peppers are now grown in all corners of the world, with more than 200 varieties described. The active ingredients in chili peppers are a group of chemical compounds known as capsaicinoids, with capsaicin being the main and most studied compound.  Capsaicin gives chili peppers it’s hot taste by binding to heat and pain receptors in the mouth and throat (1).  Stimulation of these receptor...

  • To Cook or Not to Cook?

    April 29, 2014

    It is not always easy for the ordinary person to know whether it is better to cook (fry, grill, microwave, poach, bake, roast, barbeque, baste, boil, steam etc.) or to eat food raw.  Raw foods have been eaten since time immemorial, as the advent of man’s control of fire (1) did not come until much later in evolution (2). It is, however, not entirely clear whether eating raw food may be historically inadvisable.  Richard Wrangham, a Harvard anthropologist, has argued that ancient man (Hominids) became today’s man, ie – acquired traits like big brains and new facial ...

  • Yoga for Insomnia

    March 23, 2011

    Are you punching your pillow and kicking your sheets, succumbing to the overwhelming frustration that results from an inability to sleep? You’re not alone! 3.3 million Canadians are suffering from insomnia (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/051116/dq051116a-eng.htm). That is 1 in 7 Canadians who are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. For those individuals struggling to sleep and looking for an alternative treatment to medication, some researchers are suggesting yoga. In particular, Dr. Khalsa, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, has conduct...


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