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Dangers of Supplements and Medications?

The potential hazards of combining certain supplements, herbal remedies, and prescription drugs should not be taken lightly. Anyone on blood thinning medications should be especially wary about starting and stopping daily regimes, but supplements in general should be taken cautiously with any prescribed medication. You should always check labels for warnings about interactions and tell your doctor about anything you're using regularly - supplements, prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs. It is also extremely important to disclose everything you take to your health care professional if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are going to have surgery.

More about dangerous herbal/supplement/prescription drug combinations and a specific list of common ones to avoid.


Grilled Fish with Tropical Relish

The tropical relish in this recipe is more to my liking than a pure fruit topping because the sweetness of the mango is offset by the robust tartness of the capers, vinegar, and salsa, and the basil provides an unexpected, spicy note.

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Vitamin D, Too?

Vitamin D can help strengthen bones and lower risks of cancer, multiple sclerosis and other diseases, but here’s what may prove to be its biggest attraction: it may speed weight loss among dieters. Findings from the University of Minnesota suggest that taking vitamin D while trying to lose weight will boost your chances of success.

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The Beauty of Summer Squash

An entirely edible vegetable, summer squash allows you to enjoy the skin, flesh and seeds - some even have edible flowers. A good source of manganese, vitamins A and C, magnesium, fiber and folate, summer squash comes in many varieties, including the popular green zucchini; a crookneck variety that is yellow-skinned with curved neck; and the sweeter, flat, round pattypan summer squash. When choosing squash, look for examples that are heavy for their size and have a rind that is not too hard and is blemish-free. Average-sized squash tend to be less fibrous than large squash, and often have better flavor than squash that is small.

A fun piece on zucchini and summer squash, including tips on how to grow them.


3 Supplements for Healthy Bones

As men and women age, they can experience a loss of bone mass as well as normal wear and tear on the joints. Small preventive measures can help to protect joints and keep bones strong - consider the following supplements:

  1. Calcium. People who don't get enough calcium may lose bone mass faster and fracture bones more easily. Taking half as much magnesium with supplemental calcium will help offset any constipating effects. I recommend women supplement with 500 to 700 mg of calcium citrate in two divided doses taken with meals for a total of 1,000-1,200 mg from all sources (including diet); most men do not need calcium supplements, but should instead get 500-600 mg per day through diet.
  2. Vitamin D. It facilitates the absorption of calcium, helping to support healthy and strong bones. It also promotes bone mineralization. Get regular sun exposure (about 20-30 minutes a day is adequate), and take 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day - look for supplements that provide D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than D2 (ergocalciferol).
  3. Vitamin K. It helps activate certain proteins that are involved in the structuring of bone mass. Low intake of vitamin K has been linked to low bone density. You can get adequate amounts of vitamin K through a diet rich in leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran.

Hypnotherapy to Quit Smoking?

Tobacco is the most addictive drug in common usage in the world, and nicotine is one of the strongest stimulants known. It is difficult to quit smoking - but it is possible. Thousands of people quit each year, and are an inspiration to those who want to stop. There are a number of ways to quit, including cold turkey, acupuncture, or using nicotine patches or gum.

Hypnotherapy is another option. Steve Gurgevich, Ph.D., a expert, is an experienced hypnotherapist who has studied smoking cessation through hypnosis. He says that it takes just three days to get over the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal - think of it as a long weekend. The more difficult part is addressing the habitual nature of the act of smoking. According to Dr. Gurgevich, patients have to be truly motivated to quit smoking if they expect hypnotherapy to work. The habit will not be eradicated in one session.


Mole Pinto Beans

Mole is a distinctive Mexican sauce that contains chocolate (or cocoa, in this case). You can buy mole mixes but they are usually high in fat. This version is not, and a blender makes it easy to prepare. Instead of traditional turkey or chicken, this recipe pairs mole with creamy pinto beans. Eat it with salad and rice, fresh polenta, whole-wheat tortillas, or use as a filling for enchiladas.

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Meditation for Better Sleep

Relaxation or sedation may seem like the obvious short term solutions to sleeping problems, but learning to meditate may help overcome insomnia and lead to lasting improvements in all aspects of sleep, according to study findings presented in June at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

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