Heart Health

Prescription 2017: Eat More Fiber

April 11, 2017 Written by JP

When it comes to nutrition, one size does not fit all. Foods that are nourishing to some can be harmful to others. Take, for example, tree nuts. Many studies report that eating almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts regularly tends to improve the nutrient density of diets and has been linked to lower disease and mortality risk. However, if you’re allergic to tree nuts, they are essentially poison to your system. The same is true of many common and otherwise nutritious foods, including dairy, eggs and shellfish. This concept is sometimes referred to as bio-individuality. In practice, the ideal is to become aware of the foods on which your body thrives and which do not agree with you.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Heart Health, Nutrition | 13 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2017: Improving Endothelial Function

January 22, 2017 Written by JP

The allopathic treatment of poor circulation typically focuses on two areas: anticoagulant medications (aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix) and/or surgical interventions such as angioplasty and stents. Anticoagulants interfere with excessive clotting allowing blood to flow freely in a liquid state. Angioplasties and stents address circulation that is impeded by blockages or narrowing in arteries. Sometimes, these invasive and pharmaceutical measures are necessary due to advanced cardiovascular disease. However, in many cases, circulation can be effectively and safely improved by addressing an often neglected part of vascular system: the endothelium.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 10 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2017: Rooibos Coffee

January 12, 2017 Written by JP

If you’re a coffee lover, like me, here’s a simple, tasty hack that can help you start 2017 off right. I discovered this technique very much by accident. One afternoon, I was debating whether to have a cup of coffee or tea. I looked through my tea collection and considered the usual suspects: matcha, oolong and white tea. All three provide a bump in energy, albeit a milder bump, than coffee. Additionally, they’re abundant reservoirs of health promoting phytochemicals (catechins, flavonoids, theaflavins) not present in coffee. Decisions, decisions!

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 8 Comments & Updates

Tea Seed Oil

October 14, 2016 Written by JP

In recent years, the low fat diet trend has lost a lot of steam. These days, many health authorities no longer recommend restricting dietary fat indiscriminately. Having said that, there is still a fair share of disagreement about what exactly constitutes healthy lipid sources. Just about everyone agrees that hydrogenated fats (aka trans-fats) are harmful. Likewise, most nutritional experts recommend seeking out omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in cold water fish, grass fed meat and select seeds, including flax, hemp and chia. On the other hand, saturated fats and vegetable oils tend to fall into the “questionable” category.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 3 Comments & Updates

Book Review: Always Hungry?

December 21, 2015 Written by JP

Conquer food cravings. Check! Retrain your fat cells. Check! Lose weight permanently. Check! These are the bold pronouncements made on the cover of the new book, Always Hungry? I’m fully aware that such claims are typically associated with fad diets and weight loss schemes. But, I hope that my history and reputation will encourage you to stick with me for the remainder of this review. As you may know, several years ago I lost over 80 lbs by adopting a high-fat, nutrient-dense, lower carbohydrate diet. Since then, I’ve mostly maintained that initial weight loss. In fact, right now I weigh less than I did at the end of my weight loss journey. Hopefully that gives me some credibility in this arena.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 10 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2015: Use More Coconut

December 16, 2015 Written by JP

Hard to believe another year has passed so quickly, but 2015 is swiftly winding down. But, before ushering in 2016, I’d like to offer up one last healthy prescription. Long time readers of this site and my Twitter followers know that I’ve been on the coconut bandwagon for quite some time. This once maligned food and ingredient is now considered conditionally healthy by many health experts. Still, there are enough dissenting voices in the alternative and mainstream media to stimulate uncertainty in the minds of some. Today, I hope to put those unconvinced minds at ease when it comes to the enjoyment and health benefits of coconut.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 9 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2015: Walk This Way

December 2, 2015 Written by JP

These days there are more exercise alternatives than ever before. At community pools you can do aquatic aerobics and balance training. Athletic clubs and gyms offer a wide array of classes from Crossfit to Pilates, in addition to mind-body exercises such as Qigong, Tai Chi and various styles of yoga. Even traditional martial arts and boxing are now commonly practiced as novel ways of getting into better shape. From my perspective, this is a very positive trend. Keeping exercise interesting and varied helps a lot people stick to a regular fitness routine.

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Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Mental Health | 12 Comments & Updates

Hemorrhagic Stroke Question

October 17, 2015 Written by JP

Recently, I was asked an intriguing question that regularly comes up in my line of work. A friend of the site wondered whether eating too many “super foods” or going overboard on supplements can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. There are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic. According to the National Stroke Association, only about 15% of strokes are the hemorrhagic variety. This form of stroke involves bleeding in the brain caused by damaged or weakened arteries and blood vessels. Cerebral blood spills build up pressure in the cranium and subsequently damage the brain.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments & Updates

Wayne Dyer’s Final Lesson

September 8, 2015 Written by JP

It’s time to come clean. I’ve been putting off writing this blog for several days. The research was ready. I had a mental outline of what I wanted to say. But, I was concerned that I wouldn’t do the topic justice. And, perhaps more importantly, composing this column will make real for me an event that I so wish never happened: the death of Dr. Wayne Dyer at the young age of age 75.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 14 Comments & Updates

Lemon Gingerade Recipe

August 10, 2015 Written by JP

The inspiration for today’s healing elixir is the “dog days” of summer. It’s been hot, muggy and, some refreshment is definitely in order! But, there’s a twist to this recipe: it can be tweaked ever so slightly to make it into a warm, soothing beverage for the frosty days of winter as well.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Recipes | 14 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2015: Macadamia Nuts

August 3, 2015 Written by JP

These days, many nutritionists are no longer recommending a low fat diet as the be-all and end-all for promoting health. I agree! It’s absolutely fine, and, even advisable, for most people to eat moderate to large amounts of healthy fats. Foods such as avocados, grass fed meat, nuts, omega-3 eggs, seeds and wild fish can be enjoyed regularly without any sense of guilt or lingering uncertainty. But, the thing to keep in mind is that the components of any given diet do not exist in isolation. The health effects of dietary fat are influenced by the composition of your overall diet. For instance, a potato chip snack which is high in carbohydrates and fat will affect your body much differently than avocado slices wrapped in prosciutto. A typical serving of the latter may contain an equivalent amount of fat, but is much lower in carbohydrates and a richer source of protein.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 9 Comments & Updates

Guarana Research

July 2, 2015 Written by JP

Scientific publications dating back to 1872 document the medicinal properties of Paullinia cupana, also known as guarana. Today, however, this herbal extract is primarily thought of as a caffeine source commonly used in “energy drinks”. Unfortunately, this form of reductionism is all too common. Modern medicine often times focuses on a specific attribute of any given food or remedy. Oranges are a good source of Vitamin C. Red wine contains resveratrol, an age-defying antioxidant. Oats provide a cholesterol-lowering pop of soluble fiber. All of these assertions are valid, but leave a lot by the wayside.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates

Atrial Fibrillation Alternatives

June 4, 2015 Written by JP

The consistent, rhythmic beating of the heart is something most of us take for granted. This is not a criticism or judgement. It makes perfect sense that we expect our hearts to keep pumping blood in much the same way as we predict our lungs will help us breathe day in and day out. Likewise, hair and nails grow without any consideration. Even muscles move without any meaningful cognitive incentive. It’s the body’s job to function in a predictable manner and it usually does. That is, until it doesn’t. Atrial fibrillation is just such an example, where the heart decides to occasionally beat to the rhythm of a different drummer.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 15 Comments & Updates

Tomato Juice Revelations

April 22, 2015 Written by JP

Long time readers of this site know that I’m not a big fan of juicing. Sure, some juices are better than others i.e. those made from low glycemic, nutrient dense vegetables and small amounts of fruit. But, in most cases, they’re simply not as health promoting as eating the whole foods which are the starting points of the juices. What’s more, juices are often too high in naturally occurring sugar and deficient in dietary fiber which supports optimal blood sugar response. Still, it’s important not to paint virtually any food category with too broad a brush.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Women's Health | 15 Comments & Updates

Prescription 2015: Sauna Therapy

March 9, 2015 Written by JP

When I was growing up, we had a beautiful sauna in my parent’s bedroom. But, since no one in our home was accustomed to sauna bathing, we simply used the space for storage. Looking back on it now, I wish we had put that “storage room” to better use! These days, I would love to have a sauna at home. What’s more, Mrs. Healthy Fellow grew up using saunas, so we would certainly put it to good use. Unfortunately, the probability of adding a sauna to our home is about as likely as the addition of an elevator. On the other hand, our local gym has a sauna that we can and should utilize more often. In fact, saunas are readily available in most communities. This is great news because there’s more reason than ever to use saunas on a regular basis.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Heart Health | 8 Comments & Updates

Better Blood Pressure

January 28, 2015 Written by JP

Unless you have very high or low blood pressure, you probably don’t think a lot about the the blood pressure spectrum. As an example, a significant number of people have higher-than-normal blood pressure, but not high enough to treat with medication. This is typically defined as “prehypertension” and is marked by blood pressure ranging from 120-139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic. If you consistently have blood pressure in this range, you may well be a candidate for using a variety of natural options to drop your readings into the “normal” category of 120/80 mmHg or less. However, I want to point out that in some instances having higher than normal blood pressure may actually be advantageous. For instance, some research has found that higher blood pressure may actually reduce the risk of balance issues, dementia and all-cause mortality in seniors. So, when in doubt, consult with a cardiologist to determine what’s right for your unique circumstance.

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Posted in Heart Health, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements | 44 Comments & Updates