Roshanak Zahraei MSc, HD,RAc
Roshanak has 23 years experience in diagnoses and treatment the women’s diseases. She also has 23 years experience in teaching and research in Esfahan Medical Science University in Iran.
She has two master degrees in Midwifery and Medical Education and she has 5 books and more than 40 articles. She supervised more than 20 students in master degree in Esfahan Medical Science University in Iran. After immigrating to Canada she studied homeopathy, acupuncture, skin care and medical laser. Dr. Roshanak Zahraei HD has had the privilege of becoming a homeopathic doctor by combining her love of learning, her interest in helping people and her passion for supporting the healing power of the body. As an HD, Roshanak uses a variety of tools to treat the mind, body and spirit, and to address the root cause of disease. Some of these tools include nutrition and lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine and physical medicine. Roshanak takes the time to get to know her patients to provide a highly individualized treatment plan that will set them on the path to health. She strives to educate and encourage her patients, making sure they get the most information and support out of their visits. Roshanak maintains a general family practice, with a special interest in women’s health digestive issues, immune balancing, healthy weight loss, hormone balancing, and seniors’ patients.
New report outlines tips for making your house a healthy one
Harvard Staff Writer
June 20, 2019
Some of them we’ve likely heard before, some of them may be new, but all of them are meant to help us live longer, healthier lives in the places we spend 65 percent of our time: our homes.
In a recent report, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have compiled 36 expert tips that help make your home a healthier place to live. And happily, most of them are quick fixes that can have a major impact on well-being.
“Home is where the heart is. It’s a figurative expression but it’s literal too because it’s actually where your heart is spending a majority of its time,” said one of the report’s lead authors, Joe Allen, who heads the School’s Healthy Buildings program. “The home influences heart health, brain health, hormone health, mental health, all these factors. We know what a healthy meal looks like. We know that exercise is good for you and that pollution is bad for you. But we know a lot less about the places where we spend all of our time.”
Through their work, Allen and his colleagues have been shining light on what a range of scientific research says about the home environment in the developed world. Much of it is cause for concern, such as the facts that vacuum cleaners without proper filters simply break dirt up into smaller particles and scatter them around the room; the average adult uses nine personal-care products each day, exposing him or her to 126 different ingredients; and cooking with poor ventilation can make kitchen air resemble that of a smog-filled city.
“When we cook most of us aren’t thinking that we are fundamentally changing the air quality inside our home, but making a meal can generate a lot of particles,” said Allen. (The Environmental Protection Agency defines particulate matter as matter containing microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems.) “In your kitchen you can generate levels that look like a bad outdoor-air-pollution day in Beijing or Los Angeles, and depending on your type of ventilation, or if you don’t have an exhaust over your stove, those levels can get high and stay high.
“The science says you have to have an exhaust hood and it has to be exhausted to the outside,” he added, “otherwise, you are just collecting it and redistributing it somewhere else but not out of the house.”
The “Homes for Health” report offers tips for specific rooms, tips that apply to the entire home, and tips for outdoor areas such as yards and swimming pools. According to the research, one of the top ways people can make their homes healthier is by merely kicking off their shoes before they step inside. The move limits the amount of dirt and dust picked up from sidewalks, streets, and other places that harbor an alarming array of bacteria, germs, and chemicals that people bring indoors.
Cutaway of a home with tips for improving air quality - full list at https://homes.forhealth.org/.
Source: Homesforhealth.org; image by Kenneth Batelman
“The reality is that we are tracking around everything on the bottom of our shoes,” said Allen, “so whatever you happened to walk through on the way into your home — if it’s soil, it can be pesticides, if it’s dirt and debris from the road, it can be lead — you are redepositing everywhere you go.”
For Allen, an assistant professor of exposure-assessment sciences, the room where we breathe one-third of the air we take into our lungs is of particular interest. “A full third of our life is spent in one room on this planet: our bedroom. When you talk about it that way, it changes your frame. Here’s a full third of your life in one maybe 12-by-12-foot box on planet Earth, and so it’s critically important.”
Research has repeatedly shown that getting enough quality sleep is key to overall health. Making sure the bedroom is well-ventilated by adding a humidifier or air purifier can help people breathe easier and healthier while they sleep. Keeping it cool is also key. Studies have shown that maintaining a bedroom temperature between 65 and 70 degrees leads to better sleep. And we’ve all heard the refrain “Don’t take your cell phone to bed with you.” There’s good reason. Not only is it a distraction that can keep your mind racing, but also its blue light causes the body to produce less melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Warm light can help induce sleepiness, the report notes, and it suggests people leave their phones in another room and swap out their regular light bulb in favor of one with a dimmer that can be adjusted to achieve the warm light that can bring on the zzzs.
Keeping your place smelling nice is a priority for many homeowners, but those sweet-scented candles and air fresheners are likely doing more harm than good. The report urges people to limit their use of air fresheners that deliver a “constant stream of volatile organic chemicals,” into the air. Burning candles and incense is no better. Both involve combustion, a process that releases other harmful particulate matter.
“We know what a healthy meal looks like. We know that exercise is good for you and that pollution is bad for you. But we know a lot less about the places where we spend all of our time.”
Hawthorn Berry is used to promote the health of the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia and has been found to strengthen the heart.
You may have heard that eating a lot of red meat, especially processed meats, may be linked to certain cancers.
Now, researchers from Harvard university say that there's a connection between cooking meat at high temperatures and type 2 diabetes.
They found that frequent use of high-heat cooking methods (such as broiling, barbecuing, grilling, and roasting) to prepare beef and chicken increased the risk of diabetes.
The study conducted involved more than 289,000 men and women, who were followed for 12 to 16 years.
Participants who most frequently ate meats cooked at high temperatures were 1.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared to those who ate the least.
This is likely due to the harmful chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic aromatic amines, and nitrosamines (from nitrates and nitrites added to meats as a preservative) formed during high-heat cooking.
These chemicals may spur an inflammatory response, interfere with the normal production of insulin, or promote insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar levels.
Whether or not you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, it is recommended to eat meat, chicken, and fish cooked with methods that use lower temperatures, or brief periods of high heat.
These include slow cookers, baking, sous-vide, boiling, steaming, stewing, and stir-frying
Take a moment to be mindful
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, such as how the air smells and feels as you walk your dog, or how a bite of bread tastes with dinner. The ultimate goal is to help shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.
Scientific examination of mindfulness shows that it can improve both physical and psychological symptoms and create positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors.
Here are two mindfulness exercises you can try on your own.
Basic mindfulness meditation
Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.
Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it as good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.
Mindfulness in everyday moments
A less formal approach to mindfulness can also help you to stay in the present and fully participate in your life. You can choose any task or moment to practice informal mindfulness, whether you are eating, showering, walking, or playing with a child. With practice, this sense of awareness will become more natural.
Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body.
Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air to move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out through your mouth. Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation.
Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
When you notice that your mind has wandered from what you are doing, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.
The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between:
For years, fat was a four-letter word. We were urged to banish it from our diets whenever possible. We switched to low-fat foods. But the shift didn’t make us healthier, probably because we cut back on healthy fats as well as harmful ones.
Your body needs some fat from food. It’s a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. For long-term health, some fats are better than others. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Bad ones include industrial-made trans fats. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.
All fats have a similar chemical structure: a chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. What makes one fat different from another is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. Seemingly slight differences in structure translate into crucial differences in form and function.
The worst type of dietary fat is the kind known as trans fat. It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. When vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This turns oils into solids. It also makes healthy vegetable oils more like not-so-healthy saturated fats. On food label ingredient lists, this manufactured substance is typically listed as “partially hydrogenated oil.”
The worst type of dietary fat is the kind known as trans fatEarly in the 20th century, trans fats were found mainly in solid margarines and vegetable shortening. As food makers learned new ways to use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, they began appearing in everything from commercial cookies and pastries to fast-food French fries.
Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health and elsewhere indicates that trans fats can harm health in even small amounts: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.
An expert panel assembled by the Institute of Medicine expert panel concluded that trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Since 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required food makers to list trans fat content as a separate line item on food labels. As a result, the food industry has reduced trans fats in many foods, and some local governments have banned trans fats in restaurant foods. Today, these mainly man-made fats are fading from the food supply.
Saturated fats are common in the American diet. They are solid at room temperature — think cooled bacon grease. Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.
The word “saturated” here refers to the number of hydrogen atoms surrounding each carbon atom. The chain of carbon atoms holds as many hydrogen atoms as possible — it’s saturated with hydrogens.
A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.
A handful of recent reports have muddied the link between saturated fat and heart disease. One meta-analysis of 21 studies said that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease.
Two other major studies narrowed the prescription slightly, concluding that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils or high-fiber carbohydrates is the best bet for reducing the risk of heart disease, but replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbohydrates could do the opposite.
Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid. There are two broad categories of beneficial fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats. When you dip your bread in olive oil at an Italian restaurant, you’re getting mostly monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond. The result is that it has two fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fat and a bend at the double bond. This structure keeps monounsaturated fats liquid at room temperature.Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, most nuts, high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.
The discovery that monounsaturated fat could be healthful came from the Seven Countries Study during the 1960s. It revealed that people in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region enjoyed a low rate of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. The main fat in their diet, though, was not the saturated animal fat common in countries with higher rates of heart disease. It was olive oil, which contains mainly monounsaturated fat. This finding produced a surge of interest in olive oil and the “Mediterranean diet,” a style of eating regarded as a healthful choice today.
Although there’s no recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fats, the Institute of Medicine recommends using them as much as possible along with polyunsaturated fats to replace saturated and trans fats.
Polyunsaturated fats. When you pour liquid cooking oil into a pan, there’s a good chance you’re using polyunsaturated fat. Corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are common examples. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
A polyunsaturated fat has two or more double bonds in its carbon chain. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The numbers refer to the distance between the beginning of the carbon chain and the first double bond. Both types offer health benefits.
Eating polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and improves the cholesterol profile. It also lowers triglycerides.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke. In addition to reducing blood pressure, raising HDL, and lowering triglycerides, polyunsaturated fats may help prevent lethal heart rhythms from arising. Evidence also suggests they may help reduce the need for corticosteroid medications in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies linking omega-3s to a wide range of other health improvements, including reducing risk of dementia, are inconclusive, and some of them have major flaws, according to a systematic review of the evidence by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to protection against heart disease. Foods rich in linoleic acid and other omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils.
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