Archive for July, 2009

Quit Smoking for Good

July 31, 2009 Written by JP

According to recent figures released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately $200 million dollars are wasted each year in health care costs and loss of productivity due to smoking. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, smoking related deaths will reach the 8 million mark annually. These figures may be shocking to some. But by now, almost everyone is aware of the health hazards associated with cigarettes. Still, the fact remains that many people continue to engage in this self destructive habit. The harsh truth is that once you get hooked on nicotine, it’s not so easy to break free. But, there are some holistic practices that may assist those who are ready to quit to find some much needed support. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health | 5 Comments

Chia Seed Research

July 30, 2009 Written by JP

Salvia hispanica isn’t exactly a household name. But when it’s referred to as “chia seeds”, the recognition factor increases substantially. In prior decades, that coupling of words would bring to mind a novelty item that would grow into a Chia Pet. However these days, Salvia hispanica is more likely to be mentioned at your local health food store. It turns out that the seeds of chia are noteworthy for being more than just a gag gift. Read more »


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Posted in Product Reviews | 53 Comments

Doctor Patient Relationship

July 29, 2009 Written by JP

I believe that the cornerstone of good health is a constructive relationship between patient and physician. It’s a real gamble to remain passive and simply hope that doctors will ask all the right questions and pass along every piece of pertinent information that is currently available. That’s simply too great a burden to place on any type of “healer”. But beyond that, I think all patients have a responsibility to share what they’ve personally learned in order to improve the quality of their own care and, possibly, the care of fellow patients. The following information may be relevant to many who would like to take a more pro-active approach in their own wellness program. Read more »


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Posted in Heart Health | 6 Comments

Curcumin Research

July 28, 2009 Written by JP

The distinctive yellowish color that is often associated with Indian and South Asian dishes is derived from Curcuma longa or turmeric. This rhizome (underground stem) is part of the ginger family, but it doesn’t possess the same pungent flavor or odor. Turmeric does however contain a group of antioxidant pigments known as curcuminoids. The primary curcuminoid is curcumin, a name often used interchangeably in alternative medicine when describing turmeric extracts. Read more »


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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments

Vitamin D and Chronic Pain

July 27, 2009 Written by JP

Many people throughout the world suffer from chronic pain. The exact locations of the symptoms and the causes of the discomfort vary widely. Determining the origin of inflammatory processes can often be elusive. Therefore, doctors and patients alike generally turn to powerful medications to alleviate physical suffering. This is, of course, understandable and sometimes necessary. But there is new research that may offer an innovative tool in the fight against many pain related conditions. It turns out that the answer may lie in a simple blood test, some added sunshine and an inexpensive nutrient known as vitamin D. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 8 Comments

Swine Flu Fish Oil Warning

July 24, 2009 Written by JP

It’s been a dramatic day in Swine Flu news. Firstly, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) publicly estimated that up to 40% of all US citizens may contract this novel H1N1 virus over the next couple of years. The WHO (World Health Organization) also just released a statement warning that pregnant women, school-aged children and seniors should be on special alert because the virus appears to be “gaining momentum” in these sensitive populations. Perhaps that’s the reason why the CDC changed its prior stance on influenza vaccines earlier today. They now recommend that all children in the US (6 months – 18 years of age) receive a seasonal flu vaccine. Those are the biggest stories in the conventional press. Read more »


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Posted in Nutritional Supplements | 18 Comments

Healthy Alternatives

July 23, 2009 Written by JP

One of the biggest downfalls of any diet is the feeling that your food options are limited. Another pitfall is the impression that eating a natural, whole food diet is generally quite bland. The relative absence of flavor enhancers takes time to adjust to and some people never totally embrace that shift. Recently, I’ve discovered a few natural food additives and substitutes that have helped me to make my diet both healthier and more flavorful. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments

Dark Chocolate Controversy

July 22, 2009 Written by JP

While conducting some research this morning, I made an unexpected connection between meditation and politics. When meditating we are often instructed to gently observe our thoughts, no matter where they lead. They’re simply benign messengers of the subconscious mind. In politics, ideally we strive to observe current events, then dispassionately incorporate that information into our political views. I think the application of scientific research should be approached in a similar manner. In a nutshell, I believe we need to be aware and open to new research that both supports and, occasionally, contradicts our points of view. I discovered an example of this while reviewing the most recent data on the effects of dark chocolate on hypertension. Read more »


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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 11 Comments

Olive Leaf Extract

July 21, 2009 Written by JP

When you walk into a health food store you have a few different ways of acquiring information about prospective products. You can look product labels, ask for guidance from a store employee, or peruse the books that are often sold alongside nutritional supplements. There’s no question that you’ll get some information from all three of these resources. Part of what you’ll learn will likely be accurate and some of it will be based mostly on well meaning, but anecdotal and/or preliminary information. When I worked in the natural health industry, I experienced a similar advisory experience whenever a customer asked about olive leaf extract. Read more »


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Posted in Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments

Paleo Diet

July 20, 2009 Written by JP

Sometimes we need to look back to the distant past in order to create a better future. This certainly seems to be the case in terms of dietary choices. A relatively unpublicized, but growing body of research is telling us that so called “primal eating” may be healthier than the most common diets adopted by modern man. It’s hard for some people to accept that “cave men” could possibly have figured out a better way of eating than modern nutritionists and physicians. But as is often the case, it’s not simply a matter of intellect or lack thereof. Rather, it’s an issue of man respecting the laws of nature. If we can manage to combine the intrinsic knowledge of our predecessors with the discoveries of 21st century science, then we can truly benefit from the best of both worlds. Read more »


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Posted in Nutrition | 20 Comments

Alzheimer’s Coffee Link

July 17, 2009 Written by JP

Perhaps you heard or read about the recent news concerning caffeine and its purported effect on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. I know those headlines certainly caught my attention. I’m a frequent coffee drinker and regularly advocate the use of this roasted bean to promote wellness in most individuals. But rather than simply accept the current positive findings, I decided to dig a little deeper. I wanted to know: Does caffeine and, more specifically, coffee really afford any real world brain protection? Read more »


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Posted in Memory | 7 Comments

Mindfulness Insomnia Remedy

July 16, 2009 Written by JP

Nothing can replace the blissful feeling we get after a good nights sleep. On the other hand, tossing and turning for hours or simply being unable to relax enough to fall asleep makes the following day quite a struggle. Sleeping pills can be helpful for the occasional restless night, but shouldn’t be used on a regular basis. It turns out that the solution to this disturbingly common problem may very well reside inside our heads. A group of scientists from Duke University suggest that simply being mindful of your thoughts and quieting your mental chatter may be enough to induce some much need slumber.
Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies | 8 Comments

Travel Supplements

July 15, 2009 Written by JP

Traveling can be a lot of fun provided that you stay healthy along the way. This isn’t always as simple as it seems. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, you can pretty much count on being exposed to a wide assortment of germs and microscopic spoilsports that, under the wrong circumstances, could dampen your good time. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help fortify your immune system and keep you running strong. Whenever we hit the road, I use three specific supplements to shield myself from the unseen hazards of travel. Read more »


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Posted in Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Mint Tea Warning

July 14, 2009 Written by JP

It seems as if so much of the information out there about natural medicine either glorifies or vilifies this long held tradition. The truth about holistic health care is difficult to come by because it’s often influenced by the prejudices of those interpreting the data. This same observation applies to me. I have a tendency to accentuate the positive aspects of natural healing techniques. I do this because there is science that supports my view, but also because most media outlets and the modern medical establishment tend to dismiss the validity of many alternative and traditional health practices. Having said that, I do try to present a balanced account of things. In doing so, I will occasionally bring to light certain precautions that I believe are warranted, even when using 100% natural remedies. Read more »


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Posted in Women's Health | 198 Comments

Animal Assisted Therapy

July 13, 2009 Written by JP

The window of our home overlooks an expansive private courtyard and garden. Weather permitting, almost every day I see men, women and children playing out there with their canine companions. Sometimes they simply rest together underneath the shade of a tree. On occasion, I even hear interspecies “conversations” going on. It’s actually a really beautiful sight to behold. The connection that is present between animals and humans is a profound one indeed. This observation has not escaped both traditional and modern health practitioners. Today’s column delves a bit into the research that exists on animal-assisted therapy (AAT). Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 11 Comments

Nutrition Nuts

July 10, 2009 Written by JP

One of my primary goals for this site is to provide practical and topical information that can be incorporated into daily life. The following research has all been published within the past seven months. 2009 may ultimately be considered the “year of the nut” thanks to the extensive coverage that science is devoting to this humble snack food. By looking at the current batch of studies and data collected over the last few decades, it’s become abundantly clear that regular nut consumption can help address some of the biggest health crises facing our society, namely diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The best news of all is that every one of us can easily adjust our diets to derive all of the benefits that nuts have to offer. Read more »


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Posted in Nutrition | 4 Comments