Welcome to the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine!

The Integrative Medical Group of Irvine blends the best of conventional, naturopathic, and holistic medicine, providing comprehensive, integrative health care for men and women of all ages.

We provide a wide range of care, including physical exams and annual women’s visits, acute and chronic care, and a full spectrum of preventive and wellness services. The practice was established by Felice Gersh, M.D., a gynecologist and fellowship-trained physician in Integrative Medicine. Because coordinated care at one site provides the best opportunity for achieving optimal health, the practice includes the specialties of integrative gynecology, weight management (including ProLon, the fasting mimicking diet developed at the Longevity Institute at USC), wellness and anti-aging medicine, aesthetics and skin care, along with nutrition and fitness. Additional services include, naturopathy and homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, IV therapy, Reiki and aromatherapy.

OUR EXPERTISE

We are a practice unlike any other, with exceptional skills and talents, and an amazing array of therapies and holistic tools available for your benefit. Our team is capable of tackling the most complex medical conditions, of both genders, and of all ages, addressing the intricate reality of the human body and all of its pressing issues.

ARTICLES

The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are available all over the world, and if you only eat these delicious root vegetables when they've been baked until they are virtually unrecognizable, then you are missing out on one of nature's greatest nutritional gifts. They are not only rich in a vast range of nutrients, but they are also one of the best natural ways to regulate your blood sugar levels, making them an exceptionally beneficial food for diabetics. It also helps that they are absolutely scrumptious, and their sweet flavor is completely unlike any other found in the vegetable world. Indeed, sweet potatoes are so versatile that they're sure to liven up a whole range of dishes, even desserts!

Selecting and Storing Sweet Potatoes

There are different varieties of sweet potato, and many come in different colorings and hues. Here are some tips for selecting, storing and preparing the vegetable, so that you can benefit from as much goodness as possible.
  1. Choose the darker variety of sweet potato at the grocery store if possible, because they have the higher carotene content, essential for the production of vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes, more commonly found in Asia, are also a great source of nutrients. Paler varieties are healthy but don't offer quite the same number of benefits as darker types, and many people often confuse them with yams.
  2. Avoid wrinkly, soft sweet potatoes and take time to select ones with good, firm flesh. If there are signs of green discoloring, then leave them alone.
  3. Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place. Do not leave them in plastic bags, or keep them in the fridge. Consume within 7-10 days of purchase.
  4. Prepare sweet potatoes in the same way you would prepare normal white potatoes. However, bear in mind that the skin contains a large percentage of the nutrients, so try to leave it on if possible. You can make fantastic sweet potato fries by leaving the skin on, and chopping the vegetable into strips.
  5. You can steam, bake, boil or roast sweet potatoes, and still benefit from plenty of nutrients. But as with any vegetable preparation, try not to over-cook them.

Specific Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Although they are soft, creamy and sweet enough to be used in some desserts, sweet potatoes offer a surprisingly huge range of nutritional benefits, many of which have specific health benefits. 1. Great for Heart HealthSpecific Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes The high levels of vitamin B6 and potassium found in sweet potatoes provide excellent benefits for your heart. B6 vitamins break down homocysteine, a substance which can harden blood vessels and block arteries. Potassium, meanwhile, helps balance fluid and blood pressure levels, while providing your body's cells with electrolytes that help regulate your heart beat. 2. Great Source of Vitamin A Sweet potatoes contain a huge amount of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that gives certain vegetables their orange color. The body can turn carotenoids into vitamin A, which is linked to cancer prevention, the maintenance of good vision, and also provides a number of anti-ageing benefits. Indeed, one large sweet potato is capable of providing 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 3. Great for Blood Sugar Levels Although they are sweet tasting, sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, which means they are a very good blood sugar regulator. Many starchy foods, including white potatoes, encourage blood sugar levels to spike and rise rapidly, but sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream much more slowly. This makes them a great choice for diabetics, who can safely consume the carbohydrates without associated problems. 4. Great for Skin Care Sweet potatoes can work to improve the appearance of your skin from both inside and outside your body. The high levels of vitamin C and E contained within sweet potatoes helps boost the body's defenses against the sun's harmful UV rays and encourages the production of collagen, which keeps the skin strong and supple. But it isn't only the consumption of sweet potatoes that can benefit your skin. If you boil them, don't throw away the water afterwards. Take a cup and use your fingers to gently apply the water to your face. This can help clean your pores, remove impurities from the skin and even reduce dark circles around your eyes. Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes 5. Great for Digestion Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, while still being low in calorie content. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive tract, helping your body pass toxins and waste products out quickly and efficiently while guarding against constipation and bloatedness. 6. Great for Emphysema Prevention Emphysema is a condition that gradually damages the air sacs in the lungs, leaving sufferers short of breath. It is often associated with smokers, or people exposed to smoking on a regular basis.  Smoking reduces levels of vitamin A, which helps regenerate the cells in the lungs. The beta-carotene contained within sweet potatoes encourages the production of vitamin A and helps heal the respiratory system. 7. Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamins C, E, B5, B6, riboflavin and copper. These nutrients offer a range of benefits for your immune system, red blood cell production, sleep patterns, mood, wound repair, disease prevention, muscle weakness and pain. 8. Great for Stress Relief Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of magnesium, often considered to be one of the best minerals for promoting relaxation, calmness and improved mood. As we already know, they are also rich in potassium, which helps regulate your heart beat when you are anxious or stressed.
Why Sweet Potatoes a healthy alternative

Why Sweet Potatoes a Healthy Alternative?

Sadly, many consider the sweet potato a bad food choice because it has carbohydrates and is very starchy. The unjustified maligning of this regal root vegetable needs to stop now! Only processed carbs are evil! Natural starchy vegetables, eaten without deep frying them, are incredibly healthy and truly necessary to nurture and feed the critically important gut microbiome - that recently discovered complex civilization which resides deep within us in our gut. These workhorses for our wellbeing are living creatures and require food to live. Fiber and starch are what they need to survive!! Only processed carbohydrates turn rapidly into sugar. The delicious sweet potato does not. Just be sure when you prepare them that you don't add unhealthy ingredients, such as marshmallows or brown sugar! These marvels of the earth, when simply prepared, taste heavenly!
Grey Hair Linked with Increased Heart Disease Risk in Men

Grey Hair Linked with Increased Heart Disease Risk in Men

You thought of your grey hair as a cosmetic burden to deal with, along with being an outright nuisance ... and considered that to be plenty to contend with. Now it turns out that the grey is so more than "hair strand deep!" It's now been shown, confirming what many thought already, myself included, that grey hair also meant that your insides were, at least theoretically, greying as well! Yes - we now must add a dangerous veneer to the pain of greying hair, as it has been shown in men (ladies this most definitely should apply to you too, though your gender has yet to be studied) that it indicates a very real increased risk of cardiovascular events. But why would this be? Why should grey strands on your noggin foretell of a disastrous heart attack or stroke? The reason for this correlation is so simple to grasp. Grey hair is a sign of oxidative stress, of an imbalance favoring free radicals! Free radicals are molecules carrying an unmatched electron, making it exist in a state of oxidative stress - it needs an electron to balance its charge and neutralize it! It's now an oxidant in search of an antioxidant! In women in menopause in particular, lack of estrogen predisposes to oxidative stress and lots of free radicals. Another way to think of this is that grey hair is a sign of inflammation!! And inflammation breeds disease! If oxidative stress and free radicals exist in one place in the body, you can be safe extrapolate  that they exist everywhere! And free radicals at the level of the scalp leads to a state of inflammation and oxidative stress at the hair follicle - and hence the greying of hair! Rather than freaking out about this, better to just swallow and take the steps needed to reduce your level of inflammation and be grateful you know the score prior to a bad event! Together we can lower your state of inflammation and lower your risk of a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke, or heart or kidney failure ... down the line!) With a whole foods, organic diet, filled with fiber and an array of vegetables and fruits, along with exercise, proper sleep, stress control, and detoxification - your body can be restored to a much healthier state. And will the grey hair disappear? This has yet to be tested ... so let's see how your hair reacts!! No promises for the hair, but for sure your arteries will smile!!! See: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/grey-hair-linked-with-increased-heart-disease-risk-in-men?hit=wireek

Dr. Gersh has been my doctor for 25 plus years. She is brilliant and constantly up to date on new studies, re-educating herself and her team to give the most integrative and thorough medical service. She is a caring and inspiring doctor.

-JS, Irvine
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