Archive for February, 2012

International Herbal Medicine

February 24, 2012 Written by JP

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Mexico, I’ve been reviewing both modern and traditional applications of medicinal plants that are indigenous to the region. During the course of my research, an interesting and unexpected pattern emerged. Some of the most popular home remedies used in Mexico are finding new homes throughout the world. By that, I mean that scientists spanning Australia to England and even India are taking note of herbal medicines such as aloe vera, nettle (Urtica dioica) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments

Nopal Cactus for Diabetes

February 22, 2012 Written by JP

Next week I’ll be taking my work on the road. More specifically, I’ll head down south to Mexico for a fact finding mission and informational exchange. One of the planned areas of discussion will focus on an edible cactus commonly known as nopal or nopales, as diabetes and prediabetic conditions (i.e. metabolic syndrome) are quickly reaching an epidemic level in Mexico. Nopales, when eaten as a part of one’s daily diet, may offer a valuable tool in turning the diabetes tide in Mexico and beyond.

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments

Fermented Papaya Preparation

February 20, 2012 Written by JP

It’s unusual for a dietary supplement to have more than twenty studies to support its use, while at the same time being relatively unknown in most parts of the world. However, this is precisely the case for an obscure Japanese product known as fermented papaya preparation or FPP. In essence, this nutraceutical is an extract of the common papaya fruit that is fermented using edible yeast strains. The resulting product is a mildly sweet powder that is typically promoted as a nutritional aid for supporting healthy aging and immune function.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Cherry Good Night

February 17, 2012 Written by JP

One of my current passions is to seek out the best-of-the-best fruits and encourage my clients, family and friends to eat more of them. By “best-of-the-best”, I mean fruits that offer a major upside and little, if any, downside. This is sometimes embodied in fruits that are high in fiber and/or nutrient dense. Other times, the fruits in question are superlative reservoirs of health promoting, but non-nutritive phytochemicals. And, of course, these fruits should also be appropriate for anyone mindful of their blood sugar and weight. After all, in my opinion, the majority of us would do well to eat as though we were at risk for diabetes and overweight.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments

Berry and Pomegranate Wines

February 15, 2012 Written by JP

During a recent consultation, a client inquired about the relative differences between non-grape wines and traditional wines derived from grapes. This is a topic I’d previously examined myself. My reason for doing so, besides being an admitted red wine devotee, was my growing awareness of non-grape wines that I’d seen at various gourmet shops, health food stores and wine outlets. But, what really piqued my interest the most was the possibility that these alternative wines just might be healthier than their grape-based counterparts.

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | No Comments;

Limiting Side Effects

February 13, 2012 Written by JP

Health care consumers have greater access to information about drug safety than ever before. A recent edition of the Wall Street Journal illustrates this reality in a piece entitled, “Searching for Side Effects”. A few highlights from the article reveal that medications used to treat diseases including arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis are associated with hundreds of thousands of adverse reactions. Point taken. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can be hazardous to your health. But, what in the world are you supposed to do if you present symptoms that seem to require a pharmacological intervention? I suggest seeking out evidence-based alternatives and/or complementary therapies as the first step.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Diabetes | 2 Comments

L-Carnitine Research

February 10, 2012 Written by JP

In last week’s interview with Jonny Bowden, the good doctor mentioned L-carnitine as a noteworthy supplement that benefits heart health. A recent review in the journal Current Drug Metabolism concurs and describes several mechanisms that make this so. Among them, the authors cite carnitine’s ability to transport “fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix, thus allowing the cells to break down fat and get energy from stored fat reserves”. They go on to report that carnitine reduces oxidative stress and may, therefore, be a helpful adjunct in conditions including angina, heart failure and even overweight. But, this “endogenous molecule” has plenty to offer beyond the confines of the cardiovascular system.

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Posted in Children's Health, Diabetes, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;

Volunteering for Health

February 8, 2012 Written by JP

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a senior community center in Santa Monica, California. While touring the facility, I was impressed by the emphasis placed on volunteering opportunities – from peer counseling to reading programs and even free lunch service. Doing good may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of giving back to the community. But, the administrators of this senior center are also keenly aware of another benefit of volunteerism: it improves mental and physical health in more ways than one.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments

Kiwi Fruit Revelations

February 6, 2012 Written by JP

Nutritionists often advocate more fruits and vegetables in the average person’s diet. This is good, albeit incomplete advice. It’s kind of like saying, “Walking is a great form of exercise”. However, walking in a lush park is far more advisable than walking alongside a polluted downtown street. Likewise, increased consumption of just any fruits and vegetables won’t necessarily promote better health. Rather, focusing on low-glycemic, nutrient dense produce is a much better strategy. In practical terms, this means opting for leafy green vegetables instead of potatoes and fruits like kiwis instead of bananas.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments

Dr. Jonny Bowden Interview Part Two

February 3, 2012 Written by JP

There’s a lot more to cardiovascular health than just blindly following your doctor’s instructions about what to eat and what medications to take. In order to receive the highest quality of care, you need to ask informed questions and stay up-to-date on the latest scientific data – just in case your physicians are behind the times. A prime example of this recently made the news. A meta-analysis in the current edition of The Lancet recommends that blood pressure be taken using both arms rather than just one. The reason is explained in the authors’ concluding statement: “A difference in SBP (systolic blood pressure) of 10 mm Hg or more, or of 15 mm Hg or more, between arms might help to identify patients who need further vascular assessment. A difference of 15 mm Hg or more could be a useful indicator of risk of vascular disease and death.”

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Posted in Heart Health, Interviews, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments

Dr. Jonny Bowden Interview Part One

February 1, 2012 Written by JP

Today not only marks the first day of February, but also the beginning of American Heart Month. I can’t think of a better way to address the important topic of cardiovascular health than to present a recent Q&A session with one of the leading figures in exercise and nutrition: Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS.

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Posted in Heart Health, Interviews, Nutrition | 6 Comments