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Saturday
Nov072009

Four Foods For Your Bones

Did you know that you can help promote healthy bones no matter what your age? It's not difficult - simply add the following foods to your diet:

  1. Non-fat dairy products. They are a good source of calcium, an essential mineral which is important to bone health.
  2. Non-dairy calcium-rich foods. Sardines, canned salmon (with bones), dark leafy greens,  whole soy foods like tofu, and calcium-fortified products such as soymilk and orange juice are good calcium-rich options for those who don't eat dairy.
  3. Whole vegetables and fruit. They provide potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta carotene, all of which have been linked to higher total bone mass.
  4. Spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are good sources of magnesium - vital for healthy bones. 
Friday
Nov062009

Prostate Cancer - Online Course

The experts and faculty at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) have created this highly informative and interactive one-hour online course for anyone interested to learn more about prostate cancer. We encourage you to talk with your primary care provider, urologist, and/or oncologist if you have additional questions. Although this course is primarily intended for men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we also discuss risk factors, screening, and preventive measures that can help you or a loved one.

Registration information.

Friday
Nov062009

Treat Eczema Naturally

If you suffer from red, scaly, dry patches of skin that are extremely itchy, you may have eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is an allergy-related skin condition common in young adults, children and infants. Simple measures can often help to minimize symptoms and provide relief. Instead of turning to the topical steroids often prescribed for eczema, which I believe suppress the problem and may worsen it over time, try the six suggestions below and see if they work for you.

  1. Eliminate cows' milk and all cows' milk products from your diet, as well as foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (often found in snack foods and baked goods) and trans-fatty acids (margarine, vegetable shortening).
  2. Take 500 milligrams of black currant oil or evening primrose oil twice a day (half that dose for children younger than 12). These are sources of gamma-linolenic aid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid that promotes healthy growth of skin, hair and nails. You should begin to notice positive changes in six to eight weeks.
  3. Apply aloe vera gel (from a fresh plant or buy lotions or moisturizers containing aloe) or calendula cream to the affected areas of your arm.
  4. Experiment with lotions and salves containing chaparral (Larrea divaricata), a desert plant used topically in Mexican folk medicine for skin conditions.
  5. Bathe or shower as quickly as possible, and use a non-perfumed moisturizing soap. Apply a thick moisturizing cream immediately after patting yourself dry - don't rub your skin when you towel dry your body.
  6. Practice visualization and hypnotherapy. They can have a significant positive impact on allergy-related skin conditions. And try to relax - stress can make the condition worse. Explore relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga.
Thursday
Nov052009

Wondering About Kasha?

Kasha boasts a wonderfully nutty flavor. You can buy it already toasted. If you buy the untoasted variety, toss it lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat until it colors. Hearty, but not too heavy, kasha is a staple of Northern Europe and Russia that is traditionally served as an accompaniment to meats, in pilafs or as the essential ingredient in traditional Jewish dishes like kasha varnishkes. Exotic though it may sound, kasha is just basic buckwheat groats, used like a grain, but botanically just a cousin of true grains. Once only available through specialty grocers, you'll find kasha in many health food stores and supermarkets now as well. So, by all means, go nuts with kasha!

Try this recipe: Kasha with Vegetables

Wednesday
Nov042009

Simple Steps for Healthy Vision

The eye is a highly complex and sensitive organ that requires a careful combination of nutrients, protection, exercise and rest for optimal function. In addition to an antioxidant-rich diet and prudent supplementation, consider the following healthy habits to help maintain visual health:

  1. Don't smoke, and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking can decrease blood supply to the eyes by causing blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken.
  2. Protect the eyes from the elements. Sunlight can damage the cells of the macula, which provides visual acuity. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that protect against at least 99 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  3. Use safety eyewear when working around potential hazards to help protect against injuries to vision.
  4. Stay active. Regular exercise promotes eye health by improving circulation and lowering the risk of diabetes.
  5. Keep blood pressure in check. High blood pressure increases the risk of glaucoma. Consider medication if lifestyle changes can't bring pressures into the normal range.
Tuesday
Nov032009

Unhealthy Foods for Your Heart

Saturday I outlined 5 healthy foods for your heart. Today I'll cover some things found in foods that are not so heart-healthy. Minimize these inflammatory aggravators in your diet to help promote optimal cardiovascular functioning.

  1. Saturated fats. They can contribute to high cholesterol; avoid whole-fat dairy foods such as cheese, cream and milk, as well as red meat.
  2. Trans-fats. Found in most margarines, snack foods, heavily processed foods and some cooking oils, these fats (often listed on food labels as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil) can reduce HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
  3. Animal protein. Excessive animal protein has been shown to raise levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid. Instead of animal protein, try whole soy protein - aim for two servings of whole soy, such as tofu or edamame, per day.
  4. Refined carbohydrates. A diet full of cookies, cakes, crackers, fluffy breads, chips and sodas can increase triglyceride levels and lower HDL.
  5. Sodium. Excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Avoid processed and canned foods, taste foods before you salt them and do not add salt while cooking, avoid foods that are visibly salted and read labels (aim for no more than 1,500 mg sodium per day).
Monday
Nov022009

Green Squash Soup

This is another easy, flavorful soup that can either be a first course or a main course in a meal with salad, bread, and cheese. Eat it right away; the fresh taste of the vegetables is what makes it appealing.

Ingredients
1 medium leek, preferably organic
1 pound summer squash, such as zucchini, preferably organic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 tablespoons artichoke purée (see Note)

GARNISH
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Remove the root end and green top part of the leek. Wash the white part of the leek well to remove any dirt, then chop it into fine pieces. Wash and trim the squash and chop it into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leek and sauté it until it is translucent. Add the squash and sauté, stirring, until the squash softens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the stock and marjoram, heat to boiling, cover, reduce heat, and boil gently for 30 minutes. Add the artichoke purée and mix well.
    Pour the soup into a food processor and process into a coarse purée. Serve the soup in warm bowls with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish.

Note: Artichoke purée is available in specialty grocery stores. You can also make your own simply by draining a jar of water-packed baby artichokes and grinding them in a blender or food processor. Store any leftover purée in the refrigerator and use it as a base for a pasta sauce or a dip for raw vegetables.

Sunday
Nov012009

3 Simple Steps to a Healthy Brain

To help preserve mental function and protect against age-related cognitive decline including dementia and Alzheimer's disease, make these simple, healthy lifestyle choices part of your daily routine:

  1. Get 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Regular physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, can help slow memory loss and improve mental function.
  2. Develop healthy habits in all aspects of life. Not smoking, drinking only in moderation, staying socially involved, managing stress, getting adequate rest, and cultivating a positive attitude and outlook - have all been associated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer's.
  3. Keep an active mind. "Use it or lose it" applies to mental as well as physical health. Do crossword puzzles, mind games, challenging reading, and take educational classes.