Archive for August, 2009

Sarcopenia

August 31, 2009 Written by JP

Physical strength isn’t just a characteristic of athleticism and youth. Rather, it’s something we rely on in order to live the type of lifestyle we choose. It’s not imperative that we look like bodybuilders on Muscle Beach or bikini models in a sports magazine. But, we all hope to have enough power in our muscles to take walks in the park, shop at a sprawling super market and to play catch with our grandchildren. Unfortunately, maintaining lean body mass as we age is not a given. For many, it requires actively railing against the course that nature has plotted. Read more »


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Posted in Men's Health, Women's Health | No Comments;

Vitamin Angels

August 28, 2009 Written by JP

A few weeks ago, a reader named Vicky left me a comment that has stuck with me ever since. She wondered if there was a way for me to help poor people who don’t have Internet access or the resources necessary to implement much of the information I present on this site. Specifically, the post she was referring had to do with the Novel H1N1 Swine Flu virus. As I typed my response, I realized that even something as basic as a multivitamin was out reach for some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. It is at that point that I remembered the name of a charity that I have seen in natural health magazines and trade journals. The two words that came back to me were: Vitamin Angels. Read more »


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Posted in Children's Health, Interviews | 2 Comments

Dietary Fiber and Cancer

August 27, 2009 Written by JP

Some types of foods are easier to incorporate into one’s diet than others. If your doctor advises you to eat more fruits or vegetables, you can quite easily select the varieties that you like best and up your intake. The same can be said for other commonly recommended health foods such as fish, nuts and seeds. But adding more fiber into your daily routine requires some planning because not all fruits and vegetables contain much and animal based foods are completely devoid of it. In my opinion, being reminded of the importance of fiber, while becoming more aware of foods that are abundant in this dietary component is the key to making it a priority. Read more »


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Posted in Mental Health, Nutrition | 10 Comments

Internet Weight Loss

August 26, 2009 Written by JP

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s all a matter of how we decide to use it. The Internet is a good example of this. Some experts warn that sitting in front of a computer for prolonged periods of time can bring about physical and psychological consequences, including obesity and social isolation. But there’s a growing body of science that points to a constructive way to spend time online. Specifically, researchers are finding that overweight individuals can benefit from the educational content and interpersonal support that is readily available to nearly anyone who has an Internet connection. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 4 Comments

Valerian and Sleep Disorders

August 25, 2009 Written by JP

Valerian root extract is perhaps the most intensely studied and widely used natural insomnia remedy known to man. But what’s both fascinating and infuriating about it is that many scientists still don’t agree about whether it’s a viable alternative to pharmaceutical sleeping pills. The two most likely reasons for this are: a) herbal extracts are significantly more complicated to study than most synthetic medications; and b) there isn’t much of a financial incentive to get to the bottom of this issue. The secondary point isn’t an attempt to indiscriminately knock the pharmaceutical industry. Both the allopathic and holistic camps have a financial interest in allowing this mystery to persist. Read more »


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Posted in Mental Health | 3 Comments

Breathing Exercises

August 24, 2009 Written by JP

Many of the health benefits attributed to natural therapies are actually brought about by re-establishing practices that ought to come naturally to the body and mind. There is nothing more basic and essential than breathing. But there’s a difference between breathing to live and breathing with the goal of improving and/or maintaining good health. The difference between these practices generally has to do with two factors: the conscious act of breathing properly and how deeply air is inhaled and exhaled via the diaphragm and lungs. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies | 4 Comments

Natural Varicose Vein Care

August 21, 2009 Written by JP

There are several stages in the time line of any disease. Even before any symptoms are evident, there are physiological forces at work in the body that eventually bubble to the surface. Take varicose veins, for example. If you have a genetic predisposition for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), you may not see the effects until well into adulthood. But that doesn’t mean that the forward march of this condition is inevitable and solely based on advancing age. If you understand the genetic blueprint that nature plans for you to follow, then you can proactively work to change that course. In the instance of CVI, this may be achieved by lifestyle modification and the selective use of nutritional supplements. Read more »


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Posted in Men's Health, Women's Health | 1 Comment

Thunder God Vine

August 20, 2009 Written by JP

Natural medicines are much like people. They’re complicated and they respond in vastly different ways depending on the given circumstances. In the case of herbal remedies, the issues of how a plant is grown, the extraction method by which the “active ingredients” are attained and the dosage administration can very easily be the deciding factors that determine its therapeutic potential. But there’s an important consideration beyond efficacy that should always be kept in mind – safety. The fact that something is naturally derived does not necessarily guarantee that it’s harmless. A recent study conducted on Tripterygium wilfordii (Thunder God Vine) provides an excellent example of the complexity involved in researching and selecting the best holistic options. Read more »


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Posted in Bone and Joint Health | 11 Comments

Herbal News and Reviews

August 19, 2009 Written by JP

There’s always something new to learn about old herbs. The trouble is, sometimes it takes a very long time for scientists to test new applications for herbal remedies. The traditional medicinals know as Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) and Ginkgo biloba are two such examples. These ancient healing plants have recently been investigated for a few modern day health issues. Dandelion is proposed as a natural diuretic and ginkgo as an aid in managing PMS symptoms. On the other side of the spectrum, there are certain botanicals that are scientific darlings. A brew known as “sour tea” falls into this category. The more research that is released about it, the more it seems that sour tea could lend powerful support for the cardiovascular system and beyond. Read more »


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Posted in Women's Health | 5 Comments

Aquatic Therapy

August 18, 2009 Written by JP

When we think of a serious work out our minds often conjure up images of lifting heavy weights, running long distances or employing advanced technologies such as elliptical trainers. Frequently, swimming and aquatic therapies are not regarded as highly as the previously mentioned exercises. But fortunately, science doesn’t care much about popular perception. In the past few years, a good deal of study has investigated the merits of water based exercises. The results may have far reaching implications for the modern management of a number of health conditions. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Heart Health | 5 Comments

Water Weight Loss

August 17, 2009 Written by JP

If you’re trying to lose weight, drink more water. That’s what many dieters believe. But is that assertion accurate or just a myth? Several recently published studies help to clarify this issue. As is often the case, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer to this question. But looking at the research carefully can help us figure out how to use water to its greatest advantage. Read more »


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Posted in Nutrition | 11 Comments

Swine Flu Virus Update August 2009

August 14, 2009 Written by JP

News reports about the so called Novel H1N1 Swine Flu continue to roll in from around the world. On a daily basis, governmental agencies and medical specialists offer the best information they currently have about how to contain the spread of this pandemic. There’s no question that it’s important to keep up to date on the breaking news. But more and more, it appears that acting on a personal level is one the best options we have. I’m referring, specifically, to measures that we can each take to keep ourselves well. Staying healthy contributes to a grassroots effort to help minimize the impact of this virus. This is a way of applying the “think globally, act locally” philosophy to this worldwide health matter. Read more »


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Posted in Children's Health | 12 Comments

Gluten Free Snacks

August 13, 2009 Written by JP

Thursday is the day of the week that I venture out to my local health food store. Today’s mission: To find a crunchy snack that’s all-natural, nutritious and delicious. It’s a tall order, but I think I’ve come up with three noteworthy items that fit the bill. There’s a little something for everyone: raw foodists, vegetarians and those of us on low-carb diets. I’m even throwing in a recipe from my own kitchen that is far more versatile and easy to prepare than any other chip or cracker I’ve ever made. Please join me on this brief tour to the land of healthy snacking. Read more »


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Posted in Product Reviews, Recipes | 4 Comments

Longevity Tea

August 12, 2009 Written by JP

Anti-aging products are big business these days. This isn’t a new trend, but it’s an understandable one. The fact is that, statistically, we’re living longer than ever. Unfortunately, we’re not necessarily living healthier. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the ubiquitous toxic elements present in the environment. In addition, most studies tell us that psychological angst and stress levels are on the rise. But, no need to despair. We simply need to understand which lifestyle choices promote longevity and focus on making them a bigger part of our daily routine. One practical way to do this is to regularly drink (or supplement with) green or white tea. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Women's Health | 22 Comments

Herbs and Spices of Life

August 11, 2009 Written by JP

It’s a happy occasion when I can recommend something that is not only genuinely health promoting, but also pleasurable and simple to enact. Too often, eating a healthy diet can seem complicated and, even worse, not very enjoyable. When we remove all the “bad” things from our diets, sometimes a void is left. One solution is to turn up the volume on flavor by incorporating natural seasonings that are actually good for you. Adding fresh (or even dried) herbs and spices is one of best ways to increase levels of protective antioxidants in our daily routine. There’s also a little known secret contained in many of these savory plants: they’re actually powerful “phytomedicinals” (plant medicines) in disguise. Read more »


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Posted in Food and Drink, Memory, Recipes | 8 Comments

Blueberry Leaf

August 10, 2009 Written by JP

The fruit of the tree is what first catches the eye. Then the mind begins to anticipate the satisfyingly sweet flavor and fragrant scent that is unique to fresh ripened fruit. However, it’s pretty rare that we ponder the intrinsic value of the other parts of bushes, plants and trees. Without leaves, roots and stems there would obviously be no fruit to bear, but that’s about as much consideration as most non-botanists give to this topic. Fortunately, research scientists are a different breed. They look at the same tree and wonder about the chemical make up of all the inedible parts. They understand that the next big breakthrough in the management of cancer, diabetes, heart disease or virtually any health condition may be found in the less conspicuous regions of the natural world. Read more »


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Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 12 Comments