Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives

Dr. Sara Gottfried and Stress/Saunas


Have you heard of The Commonwealth Club? It’s the nation’s oldest and largest public forum. There are various member-led forums and I am the co-chair with Dr. William Grant (vitamin D expert) of the Health and Medicine Forum. This past Thursday I chaired a program and my presenter was Harvard trained physician/scientists and best-selling author, Dr. Sara Gottfried. It was all about our ‘stress shield.’ She states that 10 percent of disease is genetic, and 90 percent is due to the way you eat, move, think and supplement – collectively known, as she cleverly puts it, as your “exposome.” After listening to her program, I would love to have a…..

Sauna! (I guess he can stay…)

Dr. Jari Laukkanen, a cardiologist at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, states that men in the study who had a sauna two or three times a week had a 23% lower risk of experiencing a fatal episode of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease, compared to those who took just one sauna a week. For men who used the sauna four to seven times a week the reduction was even greater: they had a 48% lower risk of similar incidents when compared to men who used the sauna only once a week.

Women weren’t studied and the mechanisms of the outcome weren’t clear. Is it stress reduction that helped? Was it that heart rate is up and the effects are like exercise? Both? Every type of sauna can differ, so if this study was not in Finland, would the results be different? We don’t know. All I know is that since Thursday night, I’ve wanted to take a sauna, preferably by a river or lake, so I can jump in and cool off occasionally. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?


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