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The Healthy Way To Boost Your Energy

by on April 15, 2013

It’s not unusual to feel lethargic once in a while, especially if you’ve had a poor night sleep, or you’ve been under a lot of stress. But if you’re finding that you can’t get out of first gear most days without a caffeinated beverage to pick you up, consider this advice from nutrition expert Keri Glassman, on how to boost your energy the healthy way:

Stay Hydrated

“People don’t realize that when they’re not hydrated properly, their energy is lower,” said Keri,  “Sometimes just staying hydrated is the key to feeling better.” She also recommends foods that are high in water volume, such as fruits and vegetables, that have the added benefit of keeping you full. And stick with water and herbal teas, she told me – not sodas or anything with artificial sweeteners.

Eat Consistently Throughout The Day

Another way to maintain a high energy level is to start your day with a good breakfast and then eat consistently throughout the day. But don’t rely on low-nutrition, grab and go kind of food to get you through the day. “Eat real foods that aren’t going

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Five Hidden Threats to Your Health

by on April 7, 2013

The lifespan of the average American woman is now estimated to be eighty-four, so consider that women of our generation will spend more than a third of our lives post-menopause. Will we be strong and vital into our 80s and 90s? Playing bridge or doing Yoga? Or will a chronic condition keep us frail and isolated? Clues about our future health and quality of life can, in part, be found in the way we care for ourselves now, in midlife.

That’s the main message that Dr. Julia Edelman, a gynecologist and certified menopause practitioner, wants to convey in her excellent book, “Menopause Matters: Your Guide to a Long and Healthy Life .” Lifestyle choices and preventive measures can reduce our risk of disease but it requires women to be informed about their health and to proactively seek advice from trusted advisors. I found Dr. Edelman’s book to be a great resource for women who want to take control of their health as best they can.

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What Herbal Medicine Really Works?

by on April 4, 2013

Can Black Cohosh help with hot flashes? Is Curcumin really as effective as reported when it comes to joint pain and other inflammatory conditions? And what about echinacea? Can a daily dose prevent or quash the common cold? When it comes to herbal medicine, it’s hard to know which study, news article or product claims to believe.

herbal medicine, natural supplementsBut there’s a reliable source for information about popular herbs and phytomedicines and that’s the American Botanical Council (ABC), an independent, non-profit research and education organization that is “dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information” about herbal medicine.

When I attended the recent conference on Natural Supplements: An Evidenced Based Update, sponsored by the La Jolla, CA-based Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, I listened to a presentation by Mark Blumenthal, the founder and executive director of the ABC who laid out “the good, bad and ugly” when it comes to herbal medicine.

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The Ten Biomarkers of Aging

by on March 28, 2013

I’ve recently picked up a book whose title intrigued me, “Biomarkers: The 10 Keys to Prolonging Vitality, which suggests that we can control, or at least slow down the aging process. Looking into my 10x mirror every day, (and seeing things I hope no one with normal vision can see), I often wonder what my future holds as an old(er) person, and if I can do more to ensure that I will be strong and vital in my old age. This book offers some clues.

Authors William Evans, PH.D. and Irwin Rosenberg M.D., both professors of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University when they wrote this book more than two decades ago, take issue with old notions about aging and assert that “advanced age is a dynamic state that, in most people, can be changed for the better no matter how many years they’ve lived or neglected their body in the past.” In other words, our bodies can be rejuvenated, whether you’re middle-aged or pushing 80. That’s because the biological markers – or biomarkers of aging can actually be reversed.

What are biomarkers? In plain language, they are things that tell you how old you would be if you didn’t know how old you are.

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What I’m Reading: From Boomer Fitness to Gratitude

by on March 25, 2013

I hate to rub it in, given the cold, snowy weather in many parts of the country, but here in northern California it’s just beautiful — we’re surrounded by blooming shrubs, showy magnolia trees, and wildflowers. So, instead of errands and chores over the weekend, I plunked myself down in a lawn chair to enjoy the warm weather and catch up on my week’s reading. Here are a few noteworthy articles that I think you’ll find interesting.

Why Am I Out of Shape? (New York Times, Booming column 3/21/13)

This will probably come as a shock, given all the chatter about aerobics, yoga fashion and celebrity trainers, but “boomers were more likely to be obese…to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, and less likely to be physically active,” according to the results of a study on boomer fitness from the West Virginia School of Medicine, published this month in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. menopause, menopausal weight gain, belly fat, boomer fitnessThe researchers there based their concusions on data from the long-term NHANES study, in which Americans are asked about their health and given physical exams. Only 13 percent of respondents reported being in excellent health. Is it because boomers have high health expectations? Too little need for physical activity? In this column by Eric Nagourney, leading experts weigh in on the causes and possible solutions.

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Natural Appetite Suppressants You Can’t Get Too Much Of

by on March 21, 2013

If you’re a fan of oatmeal, (hopefully you’re enjoying the nutrient-rich, steel-cut type of oats), you know how filling it can be and how long it can hold you before feeling hungry again. That’s because oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, the type that absorbs water and slows down digestion. Imagine if your diet included many other fiber-rich foods. You can see how they might be just the natural appetite suppressants you need to lose those extra menopausal pounds.

High fiber foods are less dense in calories compared to high fat foods and it’s the bulking of viscous properties of fiber that contribute to fullness that, in turn curbs appetite,” explained Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a Gastroenterologist and founder and medical director of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, MD. “A high-fiber diet also slows down the absorption of sugars, so you stay full longer.”

How much dietary fiber should you consume? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics say that the average American consumes

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Take a Stress Break With Online Guided Meditations

by on March 18, 2013

The physical act of meditation, sitting still and quieting the mind by focusing on your breath or a phrase, sounds so simple and delightful. But in a day full of email alerts and deadlines, surrounded by open offices at work, or obligations at home, it can be a challenge to come to a halt for even a few minutes.

But it’s worth trying because the benefits of meditation to our health are undisputed. Rodale cited six ways that we can all benefit from 15 minutes of meditation:

  • It can improve your working memory and make you more productive
  • It’s good for surly teenagers (and thus good for you, if you’re a a parent of one)
  • It can lower your sensitivity to pain
  • It will keep you happy
  • By reducing stress, it will help your cardio-vascular system
  • And yes, it will help with menopause symptoms like hot flashes

Every January, I put “five minute daily meditation” at the top of my list of New Year resolutions but life happens and my good intentions fade away when my calendar begins filling up. That’s why I was excited to discover so many excellent online guided meditations. They really make it easy to squeeze in some decompression time during a busy day whether you’re working at your

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A Natural Sleep Aid For Menopause-Related Insomnia

by on March 14, 2013

If you’re tired of being tired, due to menopause-related insomnia, consider trying a natural sleep aid that has been formulated especially for women. I recently discovered a product that’s doing the job for me and I’m happy to spread the word.

menopause-related insomnia, natural sleep aid It’s called SleepBlend, one of several supplement products in the Vitanica line, formulated by Tori Hudson N.D., a leading naturopathic physician specializing in women’s health, and the author of a highly respected reference book, the Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.

I suppose the reason it works so well is that it contains everything that’s known to help with insomnia, but in just the right proportions: melatonin, tryptophan, valerian root, and magnesium.  It has worked so well for me, I was concerned that I shouldn’t take it every night. I asked Dr. Hudson about this and she reassured me that “SleepBlend can be used ongoing for chronic insomnia, or on a short-term basis as needed.”

The formulation also includes B6 and Riboflavin, which Dr. Hudson explained

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A Leading Practitioner Explains Integrative Medicine

by on March 10, 2013

In recent years, we’ve been hearing a lot about integrative medicine, sometimes referred to as complementary, or functional, or alternative medicine. Is it all the same? And how is it different from the health care we’ve grown up with in the U.S?

While attending the recent Scripps-sponsored Conference On Natural Supplements, I had an opportunity to talk Dr. Erminia (Mimi) Guarneri, a cardiologist and co-founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, CA, where conventional and complementary medicine techniques are simultaneously used to treat (and prevent) disease and improve health. After years of surgically fixing hundreds of blocked arteries, Dr. Guarneri realized that there was much that could be done to help patients prevent the need for these interventions in the first place with proper nutrition and stress reduction techniques.

I asked her to explain the differences between integrative or “functional” medicine and the western approach to healing that we’re so accustomed to; which supplements and lifestyle modifications offer the most benefits for menopausal women; and finally, how to find a physician who is trained in natural medicine. Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Wendy:  Let’s start with a definition of  integrative or “functional” medicine.  How is it different from traditional, Western medicine that we are more accustomed to?

Dr. Guarneri: I always use a metaphor with my patients of a tree. In Western Medicine, if the fruit on the tree is sick, they’ll give you a drug, or cut the branch off, or bypass the branch. In integrative, functional, medicine, we say let’s look at the soil. If you’re overweight, or have hypertension, diabetes, if that’s your sick fruit, we ask, why do you have this? Why is someone

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The Anti-Inflammatory Power of Curcumin

by on March 7, 2013

While attending the recent Scripps Conference on Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Update, I was struck by how often I heard the presenters – physicians and researchers in diverse fields- suggest curcumin as a potential remedy or preventive agent for a wide range of chronic health conditions such as Irritable Bowel Disease, heartburn, joint pain, and even several types of cancer.  More therapeutic uses of turmeric are currently being studied for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Curcumin is the natural pigment that gives turmeric, a culinary spice that gives Indian curry and American mustard their yellow color and it’s the most active ingredient in Turmeric. It’s now believed that most chronic diseases are linked to inflammation, so it makes sense that a diet that includes anti-inflammatory botanicals like turmeric, but also ginger, cayenne pepper and licorice root, can lower our risk of developing a chronic condition as we age.

In her presentation on Ayurveda Medicine at the conference, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, Director of Neurology at Wellspring Health in La Jolla, CA, gave five examples of the anti-inflammatory power of turmeric:

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