Archive for October, 2010

Psyllium Revival

October 29, 2010 Written by JP

The dietary supplement Metamucil has been commercially available for over seventy-five years. For the most part, this familiar product is known the world round as an old fashioned constipation aid. There’s good reason for this reputation. But there’s also more to Metamucil and psyllium than simply promoting regularity. Today I’ll discuss some of the lesser known attributes of this decidedly untrendy supplement. (1,2,3)
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Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments

Cancer, Candy and Willpower

October 28, 2010 Written by JP

What do cancer, Halloween candy and willpower have in common? The connection they share may not be readily apparent. Cancer is generally thought of as a life threatening disease. Halloween candy is a once-a-year treat and tradition in which most children are permitted to indulge. Willpower is the fortitude we all hope to possess when we’re in the presence of temptation. To my mind, they’re all linked by one common thread: health. Without willpower you’re likely to consume excess amounts of sugar which is documented as supporting the growth of malignant cells. Do you think that’s too big a leap? See if you still think so after today’s column.
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Posted in Children's Health, Diet and Weight Loss, Mental Health | 6 Comments

Your Biological Machine

October 27, 2010 Written by JP

The human body is infinitely more complex than any machine created by mankind. But it is sometimes useful to think about it in similar terms. Two of the most frequently used machines in modern life are automobiles and personal computers. In order for either of them to function efficiently, they need proper fuel (electricity and gasoline) and periodic maintenance. Fueling up a car and plugging in a lap top has become second nature in the 21st century. Unfortunately, so too has the unhealthy manner by which many people re-fuel themselves – drive-thrus, frozen dinners, etc. The trouble is that the human body doesn’t provide as immediate a response to improper nourishment as most machines do. Rather, the human organism is exceedingly resilient and can put up with years of improper care before demonstrating overt evidence of damage.
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Posted in Dental Health, Exercise, Food and Drink | 2 Comments

Almond Cocoa Butter Recipe

October 26, 2010 Written by JP

As you may know by now, I rely on events in my life to help inspire the columns that I write on this site. I was recently asked about an apparent paradox relating to dark chocolate. A client asked me how cocoa could possibly be heart healthy when it contains natural stimulants such as theobromine. “Won’t that cause my blood pressure to rise?”. Today I’ll address that question and the larger issue of cardiovascular health and cocoa. I’ll also include a supremely simple recipe that I sometimes use to satisfy my dark chocolate fix.
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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 6 Comments

Diabetes Protection

October 25, 2010 Written by JP

Do you ever wonder what life will be like in the year 2050? Futurists are notorious for being way off base in their predictions about what’s to come. Let’s face it, we don’t see many flying cars or teleportation devices around us. Fortunately, medical predictions are generally easier to approximate. This is especially true when such prognostications involve health conditions that are largely shaped by lifestyle factors. A current report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every three adults in the US could develop type 2 diabetes in the next 40 years. That’s an enormous leap from the present level of 1 in 10 adults. The most recent statistics from 2007 assign diabetes the seventh spot on the list of leading causes of death in the U.S. What’s more, roughly $174 billion health care dollars were spent managing the disease and its complications. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to do all you can to not become a part of the above statistics. (1,2)
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Posted in Diabetes, Exercise, Nutrition | 7 Comments

Botox Migraines

October 22, 2010 Written by JP

A news item that received a great deal of attention this past week was the FDA’s decision to approve Botox for the treatment of chronic migraines. This was welcome news for the estimated 12% of the US population who live with this debilitating form of headache pain. But as with all medications, symptomatic relief often comes at a price. The treatment itself requires 31 injections directed at seven specific points in the head and neck. In addition, a number of adverse reactions have been reported in relation to onabotulinumtoxin A. Documented side effects include the possibility of blurred vision, breathing problems, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms or weakness and neck pain. A recent interview with the actress Dana Delany in Prevention magazine chronicles her own negative experience with cosmetic Botox which resulted in a “huge hematoma” and subsequent muscle and nerve damage in the eye region. (1,2)
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments

Resistance Training, Sitting Danger and Tea Types

October 21, 2010 Written by JP

The most exciting aspect of skimming through Twitter posts or tweets is that you never know what or who you’re going find. The one thing you can be sure of is that the more time you spend looking, the more interesting content and people you’ll stumble upon. Some of the characters you’ll likely end up following may be household names, while others are hardly recognizable if you normally get your news via the mainstream or regional press. Today’s edition of Twitter Thursday will feature examples of both camps.
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Posted in Exercise, Heart Health | 6 Comments

Breastfeeding, Liver Health and Tinnitus News

October 20, 2010 Written by JP

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have too much to do in the time you have available? These days, that’s where I am. One way that I deal with such situations is to set up parameters for myself. I try to do it in a constructive manner which deflects the stress that often accompanies a typical time crunch. Instead of feeling as if I don’t have enough hours in the day, I think to myself: How can I do something different with the limited time I do have? What I usually come up with is a challenge. My challenge for today is to present three health promoting news items that are no longer than three sentences in length each – a sort of rapid fire version of my typical daily column.
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Posted in Children's Health, Detoxification | 1 Comment

Coconut Flax Muffin Recipe

October 19, 2010 Written by JP

Chronic constipation is estimated to affect approximately 1 in 6 adults living in the US. It’s even more prevalent in senior citizens. Dehydration, inadequate nutrition, lack of physical activity and medication side-effects all contribute to the problem. Many imperfect solutions abound including fiber supplements, laxatives and stool softeners. But in my opinion that’s putting the horse before the cart. The first thing that should be addressed in instances of recurrent constipation is diet. However, it might surprise you to know that just adding whole grains to your diet won’t solve much. Grains of any stripe frequently cause adverse digestive and systemic reactions. In my opinion, a better option is to incorporate gentler sources of dietary fiber and healthy fats into your daily routine. (1,2,3)
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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 2 Comments

Static Stretching News

October 18, 2010 Written by JP

Many of us are familiar with static stretching from our elementary, middle school and high school years. In my own experience, I can vividly recall starting off each physical eduction (P.E.) period engaging in a series of stretches that we’d have to hold in place for about 30 seconds or so. The idea behind this ritual was that the stretching and holding helped to lengthen and warm-up the isolated muscles being targeted. The expected result was an improvement in physical performance and a reduction in the risk of injury. However, a series of recent scientific studies did not bear out these expectations. That’s why my Healthy Monday tip of the week is re-evaluate how you stretch and warm up before your work-out.
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Posted in Exercise, General Health | 6 Comments

Humor Therapy

October 15, 2010 Written by JP

Every so often I’ll encounter a client who isn’t open to the possibility of changing his diet and/or incorporating nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes into his daily routine. At first thought you might wonder “What’s left to recommend?”. I like to treat situations such as this as a puzzle. Certain pieces clearly don’t fit. But if someone comes to me asking for help, I have to assume they’re at least willing to consider my advice. He might even adopt my suggestions, if I respect his wishes and find the right fit for him (or her). Laughter therapy is a treatment modality that frequently falls into this category.
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Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Mental Health | 8 Comments

Arthritis, Gossip and Vitamin D News

October 14, 2010 Written by JP

Life expectancy is slowly but surely rising in the US and many industrialized countries. This is a welcome trend that we all hope will continue. But with advancing age, so too comes an elevated risk of degenerative and progressive health conditions including arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis and more. So while scientists strive to find new ways of keeping us here longer, we must do our part to figure out how to improve the quality of this additional time.
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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments

Echinacea Flu Question

October 13, 2010 Written by JP

When cold and flu season arrives each year, so do questions pertaining to natural means of defending against it. Just the other day I was asked about using echinacea to fend off influenza and/or help speed its departure. Thankfully, each year there’s additional research to factor in when coming up with an answer.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments

Cilantro Pepita Pesto Recipe

October 12, 2010 Written by JP

I often discuss the concept of complementary medicine wherein one uses an alternative or holistic strategy to improve the efficacy and safety of a conventional treatment. Today’s recipe could be considered a “complementary recipe”. You can add it to a variety of main courses or side dishes to enhance flavor and catapult its health promoting potential. In fact, this an excellent approach to take whenever constructing meals. Start with a nutrient dense menu item, then think about how you can make it even more beneficial by selectively incorporating antioxidant rich dips, marinades and sauces.
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Posted in Nutrition, Recipes | 1 Comment

Meridia Drug Removal

October 11, 2010 Written by JP

One of the top news stories from this past week was the “voluntary” removal of the weight loss drug Meridia from the US market. Dr. John Jenkins, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug evaluation branch, stated “Meridia’s continued availability is not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke”. Presently, there are an estimated 100,000 patients in the US using this previously sanctioned medication. But now, they’re being urged to discontinue using it and consult with their physicians about alternative means of losing those extra pounds. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to strategically use safe dietary techniques to accomplish your weight loss goals instead of potentially dangerous drugs.
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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 4 Comments

Diverticulitis Alternatives

October 8, 2010 Written by JP

Are you familiar with a medical condition known as diverticulitis? The answer to this question likely depends on your age. Adults over the age of 50 are far more likely to have an intimate awareness of this inflammatory condition that affects the inner lining of the intestines. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 50% of seniors will deal with one complication or another associated with the swelling of sacs (diverticula) in the intestinal wall or diverticulitis. Potential symptoms include abdominal pain, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. As with most health care matters, preventing the development of this disease is preferred over treating it.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 12 Comments