Alternatively Speaking: Delving into dairy

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions related to Shavuot: Can you tell me some of the health benefits of cheese?

The Bashar Fromagerie (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Bashar Fromagerie
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Q. Dear Natalie, I plan on eating lots of cheese this coming Shavuot. In order to help ease my conscience, can you tell me some of the health benefits of cheese?
A. There are many kinds of cheeses and each of their nutritional values differ, but all are rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iodine. Try to avoid eating unpasteurized cheese because of the risks of infectious diseases such as listeriosis, brucellosis and salmonellosis.
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones. It is especially important for us to strengthen our bone mass in order to decrease their risk of osteoporosis in later life. A study carried out in November 2005 in the issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that calcium taken in from food such as cheese had a more beneficial effect on bones than calcium taken in supplement form.
Cheese is also an excellent source of protein. The various amino acids from which proteins are formed play different roles, including neurotransmitters and work as transporters of vitamins. Cheese is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps relieves stress and induces sleep. It contains other essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, zinc, riboflavin and phosphorus. It also reduces acidity in the mouth, which helps protect against cavities. Most cheese contains a healthful fat called CLA that can help prevent cancer and support heart health. So this Shavuot you can enjoy your portion of cheese cake guilt free!
Q. Dear Natalie, I am lactose intolerant and suffer from terrible digestive complaints as a consequence which usually last for up to about two hours after consuming foods that contain lactose. Can you recommend any herbs to help me?
A. Indeed there are certain herbal supplements which can promote a healthy digestive tract to reduce digestive upset after consuming lactose. Although the herb Saffron is the most expensive herb in the world it does provide us with many health benefits. I usually prescribe saffron to rejuvenate the body since it helps to remove toxins from the blood. Saffron also improves digestion by boosting circulation to the organs of the digestive system including the gallbladder, spleen and liver. Saffron works by coating the membranes of the stomach, the small and large intestine, which works wonderfully to help relieve digestive upset. It also reduces symptoms often caused by lactose intolerance such as stomach gas.
I also recommend you begin taking Lactobacillus acidophilus. Even though it is not technically classified as an herb, I highly recommend it to protect against conditions that affect the digestive system. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a bacteria that naturally inhabits your digestive tract. It is referred to as a probiotic since it protects against bacteria that can cause disease. In my clinical practice I have seen Lactobacillus acidophilus improve the symptoms of lactose intolerance to a great degree.
Finally, Ayurvedic medicine offers a wonderful trio of herbs to treat conditions that affect the digestive tract such as lactose intolerance. The combination of three herbs known as triphala combines the herbs haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki to heal the digestive tract and treat digestive complaints such as constipation and diarrhea. Triphala can be taken as a tonic long term, and it will promote both vitality and energy.
Q. Dear Natalie, do you practice Reflexology and how much do you charge?
A. Yes indeed I have been practicing Reflexology for over 10 years. I have a special offer for the next two weeks in honor of the festival Shavuot; Two Treatments for the price of one. Each treatment is one hour and as part of the special offer two treatments will cost only NIS 200. To book please call: 054-733-7401.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
The most effective way to treat everyday ailments is to make an appointment with your natural health practitioner so that a plan can be created specifically for you and your specific symptoms. There are some wonderful homeopathic remedies that can support you. Book your free consultation today: [email protected].