Nutrition for Caregivers

Avatar photo Staff July 22, 2009

drgorebackground1Nutrition for Caregivers

Jerry Gore, M.D.


I’m glad that everyone is talking about diet and food because I feel that proper nutrition is so essential for health and vitality. As a caregiver, we have the opportunity to improve our health and well being for clients as well as our patients and ourselves. I would like to share with you a basic outline for long-lasting health and wellness.


             Add the Good:


  1. Cultivate a taste for Complex carbohydrate and avoid white sugar.


Why? Each cell in our bodies requires fuel to make energy. The best source of fuel comes from natural foods such as whole grains; whole wheat, brown rice, millet, buckwheat (kasha) etc, These grains have a structure in which each sugar molecule is linked to the one next to it. Therefore, throughout the day as we need fuel for energy, one unit of sugar is broken off from the chain and is taken in to the cell. , followed by another and another in a controlled and timely fashion. Contrast this to a candy or other source of white sugar where all the sugar is “simple sugar” meaning there are no connections and therefore all the sugar molecules go into the cell at the same time creating a massive insulin response resulting in a blood sugar that is temporarily too low, insulin that is too high. Some people may actually experience sweating, shakiness, sugar cravings altered thinking, and nervousness. As this is repeated day after day, month after month, more people are developing insulin resistance, a condition creeping into our society, characterized by chronically elevated insulin levels in the blood. This leads to chronic inflammation, high bloods preassure, elevated cholesterol, and other problems. Enjoy a breakfast of oatmeal or granola, or a lunch of brown rice or cous-cous, and feel the satisfaction that the whole grains bring to you.


  1. Clean Protein


High protein diets are very popular at this time in our society with those who seek rapid weight loss. I’m concerned about the effects of protein breakdown products on liver and kidney health. I’m also concerned about the additives, pesticides, toxic metals, antibiotics, and hormones found in dairy, fish poultry and meat, and their effects on human health. When doing research on an article on infertility, I found that a rise in use of dairy products since the 1950s, and the dairy industry’s use of hormones (estrogen) parallels a drop in sperm count in the male population. The implication is that hormone laden dairy products affect the functioning of the developing male genetalia.(use organic milk).We love fish, but through hair analysis, followed by urine challenges, we often see elevated mercury and arsenic levels in those consuming large quantities of fish.(eat less tuna). I believe steroids are given to poultry and beef to influence their growth. Since that weakens their immune system; they are then given antibiotics to protect them from bacterial infections. We ingest these products (use organic meats) wondering how they affect us in the long run. Here are my choices for protein;


1)      Legumes, beans and peas, i.e. split peas, lentils, limas, hummus (chickpeas), black-eyed peas, etc. Why do I like them so much? Low in fat, high in fiber, low on the food chain (low in toxicity) and inexpensive. If pre soaked and used with spices, beans become easier to digest.

2)      Dairy (hormone-free) yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, milk. Note: dairy is difficult to digest for many people.

3)      Fish- cold water fish have the important omega-3fatty acids that help prevent inflammation .As mentioned before, toxic metals is becoming common. North Atlantic salmon is reported to have fewer problems. Sardines, because of their size, are lower on the food chain.

4)      Poultry-try free range, organically fed.

5)      Beef-high in fat, no fiber, costly to produce,-but it sure tastes good!


                                                      Did you know?

 Beans and peas can protect you from breast cancer. They are good sources of lignans and isoflavones-considered to be plant-based estrogens which are weakly estrogenic and therefore capable of attaching to estrogen receptors on breast cells and blocking stronger estrogens from creating cellular growth. Soy has a wonderful reputation for this and may help explain why there is less breast cancer in populations where soy products are used a lot.


  1. Good Fats


As I mentioned above, there are fats and oils that are really helpful. Many health problems involve some component of inflammation-arthritis, asthma, heart disease, allergy and others. Because of their chemical nature, the “omega-3 oils” have an anti inflammatory and immune- enhancing effect on the body. Sources of omega-3 fats include cold-water fish such as salmon, cod, sardines, tuna, and mackeral. Other sources include flax seed oil and flax meal, walnuts, sunflower seeds and soybeans. Try to cook with oils that do not turn rancid under high temperatures such as olive and sesame oil or clarified butter. Stay away from corn oil and other polyunsaturated oils as they become too easily filled with “free radicals” that can harm cells. Avoid “hydrogenated” oils that damage cells for a different reason-read the labels on those chips and choose wisely!


Did you know?

                     “Research that looked at more than 60,000women in Sweden from age 40 to 76 years found that over the course of about 4 years, those who ate the largest proportion of oil from monounsaturates suffered the lowest risk of breast cancer. According to the researchers, if two women ate the same amount of total fat calories, the one who ate 10 more grams of monounsaturated fat per day cut her chance of breast cancer in half!


4.      Fruits and vegetables-colors that protect


Besides having fiber that help remove waste, and besides having sugars that do not require insulin to be absorbed, fruits and vegetables have beautiful pigments that keep us healthy. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin A, an anti-oxidant vitamin that protects the plant from the suns radiation and can protect you to. Those juicy red tomatoes have a pigment called “lycopene” that helps prevent prostate cancer along with other red fruits such as red grapefruit and apricots. Broccli, kale, cauliflower and other members of the” brassica” species have natural substances that deactivate estrogen (protects against cancer) and, induce liver detoxification. Apples have a soluble fiber called “pectin” that pulls cholesterol out of the body. It seems all the beautiful produce can be used as medicine to keep us healthy and vital.



In summary, I feel that it is very difficult to care for others when our own health problems consume our energy and attention. If we focus on our diet and utilize a few basic principles of nutrition and common sense combined with a little education, we can enjoy great personal health and vitality. Watch your illnesses and discomforts peel away, your energy increase and your mind become clear as you begin to incorporate natural, whole, balanced meals in you daily life.