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Podcast #113 - Nutritional Strategies to Nourish Your Cells and Achieve Optimal Health | Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM

The Science of Self-Healing Hosted by
Dr. Sharon Stills With Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM, founder of WELLKULÅ

About Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM, founder of WELLKULÅ

Dr. Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM, founder of WELLKULÅ, is a quintuple board-certified physician with a distinguished reputation in integrative medicine, functional culinary medicine, cytopathology, and anatomic/clinical pathology. She is one of the rare few physicians in the nation with such a multi-dimensional expertise, skillfully integrating ancient wisdom with modern mind-body science to holistically bio-hack the human body. Upon earning dual degrees in Chemistry and Asian Studies from Binghamton University, Dr. Bhanote completed her medical degree and went through a rigorous residency at NYU Winthrop University Hospital. Her pursuit of excellence led her to undertake prestigious fellowships in Cytopathology at Cornell, Breast, Bone & Soft Tissue Cancer at the University of Rochester, and Integrative Medicine at the acclaimed Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in Arizona.


Dr. Bhanote has demonstrated her medical acumen by diagnosing over one million cancer cases, applying a comprehensive whole-body approach to healing. She possesses additional certifications in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Plant-Based Nutrition, Culinary Medicine, Ayurveda, and Yoga, both for general practice and specifically for cancer recovery. She is a dedicated Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist, a testament to her commitment to healing not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well.

Known globally for her work, Dr. Bhanote provides innovative health programs at and is regularly featured in renowned publications such as Shape, Reader's Digest, and Martha Stewart Living. As a highly sought-after health and wellness expert, she offers vital insights to Healthline, Psych Central, and Medical News Today. She also takes time to serve on several clinical advisory boards, impart her wisdom through wellness workshops, retreats worldwide, and make significant contributions to the public's understanding of health and wellbeing. Her keen interests include exploring the link between nutrition and the microbiome, understanding the role of stress and inflammation in disease manifestation, promoting mindfulness as a daily lifestyle practice, and focusing on disease prevention. Always at the forefront of evidence-based holistic wellbeing, Dr. Bhanote's mission is to support an integrative approach to health, bringing her wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and making a remarkable impact on people's lives.

Episode Highlights With Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM, founder of WELLKULÅ

  • Dr. Bhanote’s quintuple board certifications along with her interest in how the human body functions, have all been combined into a very unique approach to health and wellbeing. During her time as a pathologist, she thought about how lifestyle choices impact our individual cells and our overall health.

  • Dr. Bhanote specializes in functional culinary medicine, which incorporates some of the principles of functional medicine and culinary medicine (food as medicine), and combines them. The purpose is to emphasize personalized nutrition plans, therapeutic diets, and the use of real whole foods as nourishment to support cellular health and heal the body naturally.

  • Dr. Bhanote believes that we need to support our body in an integrative and holistic way - and it's not just nutritionally. It's important to move our bodies, sleep optimally, and so much more.  

  • Dr. Bhanote recommends that people look at food as nourishment and to think about the phytonutrient content in food. 

  • Phytonutrients are natural compounds that have been found in plants which have numerous health benefits.They're not considered essential nutrients, but they do promote health and prevent disease. Phytonutrients, or plant nutrients, are bioactive compounds that are the plant's defense system against environmental stressors, which offers a similar protective effect in the human body when consumed.

  • Each type of phytonutrient offers different benefits. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties which can neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Carotenoids (orange fruits and vegetables) support the immune system. Polyphenols are seen in things like tea and cocoa and are beneficial for our heart health and cognition. Phytoestrogens are found in legumes and in soybeans, and they are associated with improved bone health and decreasing the risk of certain hormone-related cancers. The goal is to consume 8 - 10 servings of phytonutrients (think red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) in every meal. 

  • The reason for consuming a biodiversity of phytonutrients in our diet is to fight oxidative stress from free radicals, which comes from our daily lifestyle and environment. Oxidative stress is the precursor to all chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular conditions. 

  • Dr. Bhanote’s book, The Anatomy of Wellbeing, is a guidebook for learning how your cells work in all aspects of your life. 

  • We need a biodiverse diet for our gut microbiome, and we should be thinking about what food does for our body.

  • In her cooking class, Dr. Bhanote recommends cooking intuitively, meal planning, using vegetables in stir frys, using herbs in green sauces, and eating seasonal vegetables. Her hashtag is "cell-care is self-care", and she believes in the importance of nourishing the body's cells.

  • She believes that supplements are meant to “supplement” a good diet, and that they are best used as a targeted supplementation after blood tests are ordered to determine what is needed by the body. She also suggests adjusting supplements as your body changes. 

  • Ayurveda looks at the body's energy in three different doshas. An individual might have a vata dosha, a pitta dosha, or a kapha dosha. Those are your three main doshas. And we are born with a unique combination of these, known as prakriti. Depending on what your prakriti is, your body has certain needs, and when those needs are not met, the body becomes out of balance. Ayurveda looks to see if the body is in balance or out of balance, and the goal is to maintain those doshas in as much balance as possible. We can balance our bodies with different lifestyle choices, including good food choices

  • Another aspect of Ayurveda is to incorporate and balance the six tastes into our diet - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and spicey in a way that allows our individual body's energy and digestion to flow optimally.

  • Ayurveda also involves mindful eating. When you eat, eat. Do not watch TV, or scroll on your phone. Focus on the food you have in front of you because your digestive process actually starts with you smelling your food. Your salivary glands in your mouth start releasing digestive enzymes. This will help you take in more nutrients. Remember to chew your food and not overstress or rush when you're eating. 

  • Ayurveda also looks at eating seasonally. So it's very important to try and accommodate foods during each season. For example, do not eat ice cream to soothe your body on a winter day. Instead, have a bowl of soup. In the summer, you may need cooling foods such as fresh melons.  So think about seasonal available food choices. Remember that seasonal foods are also higher in nutrients, and also that food combinations can optimize digestion.

  • Dr. Bhanote offers 5 tips:

  1. Redevelop your love for food and eat a variety of food since our gut bacteria needs diversity for fighting off different diseases.

  2. Exercise your body since it is meant to move. Moving your body also helps digestion. Keep it simple and go for walks out in nature since exercise helps with detoxification and helps keep your fascia happy.

  3. Optimize your sleep and use your bed for sleep and sex only. By optimizing your sleep you will keep your brain healthy for healthy aging.

  4. Be conscious of exposing yourself to toxins. Not the ones that we have no control over in the environment, but the ones that you're actually putting on or in your body. For example, consider the makeup you use, the shampoo you wash your hair with, the toothpaste you brush your teeth with, and the hair dye you're using. 

  5. Be intentional and mindful with the way you take care of yourself and your relationships. Be kind to your body. You've got this one body!

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