Although the title of today’s blog includes the word “survival”, I prefer to think of it as a short-list of resources that can help you thrive this holiday season and beyond. It may be a seemingly minor distinction, however I think it speaks to the underlying narrative that many people clutch on to around this time of year. “I can’t stand all the consumerism. That’s not the ‘reason for the season’!”. “I’m so tired of having to go to parties I don’t want to go to. Shopping, wrapping and sending cards…!”. The list of complaints and grievances go on and on. I believe much of the irritation and negativity is strongly influenced by actual and perceived stress and a general sense of overwhelm. It’s understandable. But, more importantly, it’s modifiable.
As a consumer, it’s not always clear how to best utilize a supplement for a specific objective. The challenges are many. For starters, you have to determine whether there’s reliable research available to guide you. If that exists, you’ll next need to determine whether the published evidence applies to your circumstance. Is it applicable to your age, gender, health-related status and weight? Then, there’s the question of determining the appropriate dosage. In many instances, even the manufacturers don’t know whether a higher or lower dose is more or less effective and safe than the doses used in the clinical studies. This leaves both the consumer and health care providers in a difficult spot that often requires educated guessing. However, in some instances there’s enough data in the scientific literature to provide a more accurate picture.
The most common symptoms of a heart attack are experienced by both men and women, namely chest discomfort, pain, pressure and/or tightness. Having said that, certain less common symptoms primarily affect women. Examples include difficulty breathing, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and pain in various sites including the abdomen, arms, back, jaw and neck. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic notes that when women have a heart attack, the symptoms can be more subtle and often take place during rest or stressful events.
The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that men and women share the same leading cause of death: heart disease. That said, how one goes about addressing this shared risk is affected by the distinct biochemistry of females and males. Today, I’ll discuss three steps men can take to protect their cardiovascular system. In my next blog, I’ll do same with regard to women.
Arguably, the kidneys are the least appreciated and discussed organs in the human body. They play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis by filtering blood while contributing to a number of important biological functions, including regulating blood pressure, bone mineral density and the production of red blood cells. But, unless something goes wrong with these two bean-shaped organs, most people hardly give them a second thought. If you’re one of those people, this is your chance to learn a few simple steps you can take to keep your kidneys healthy so that you won’t need to think about them much in the future.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.” So goes the famous, opening line of the holiday classic, “Let It Snow”. If you’re reading this somewhere in the northern hemisphere, you may well relate to the ‘frightful’ part of the tune. But, it is the ‘fire’ lyric I’d like to focus on today.
You’ve heard the carols on the radio, seen the strings of light on your way home and surely, you haven’t escaped the ceaseless advertising typical of this time of year. Take cover! The holiday season is upon us. Thankfully, I’m not here to dazzle you with glowing reindeer or the latest, greatest stocking stuffers. Instead, as 2017 gets ready to bid farewell, I’d like to a share a few, free gifts with you all. If consistently applied, I’m confident these tokens of my appreciation can improve the quality of your health and life. So, don’t wait for the start of 2018 to turn a new page – begin right now to strengthen your body, mind and spirit.
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.
The union of science and traditional medicine is a tricky business. The scientific method of identifying and objectively testing elements in food, medicinal plants and the environment is relatively new to the human experience. In generations past, observation and trial-and-error sufficed, and it still does for some populations and the majority of animals. Experiences are handed down from elders to the young and from non-scholastic healers to their communities. In some cases, advocates choose one of these philosophies over the other. But, increasingly, a middle ground is something both camps acknowledge may be the best of both worlds.
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.
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!
Dietary supplements fall into a somewhat murky part of the current healthcare pond. They’re not really food, but they generally contain elements found in food. They’re not really medications, but they often have medicinal effects. Because nutritional supplements straddle the world between traditional and modern medicine, they are frequently not used in an optimal manner.
According the American Thyroid Association, over 20 million men, women and children have one form or another of thyroid disease. Over the course of the average lifetime, it is estimated that about 12% of the populace will fall into this category. Perhaps the most disconcerting part of this trend is that over 60% of those living with thyroid dysfunction are unaware of it. The consequences can be quite significant, putting unwitting individuals at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, infertility, osteoporosis, pre-term pregnancies and beyond.