Tag Archives: holiday weight gain

Don’t Let the Holidays Wreck Your Health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

November 23, 2015

  • Don’t let the holidays leave you drained and bloated
  • Two tips to knock down holiday stress
  • If you can’t resist binging, try this

Okay, it’s official. Thanksgiving is just a few days away, which marks the start of the holiday season.

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Over the next five or six weeks, you’ve got all sorts of shopping and partying to do. At the same time, you still have to keep regular work hours and take care of the home front. This is all very exciting, but it’s also very stressful.

Continue reading

Cancer Prevention and the Benefits of Physical Activity

By Bonnie Jenkins, Advanced Natural Medicine

‘Tis the season – for resolutions, that is. And, whether it’s to quit smoking, get organized or become debt-free, most of us will have abandoned our worthy goals before the end of January. But if you are among the one in four Americans vowing to lose weight in 2008, here’s some news that may provide extra incentive:

It seems that diet is second only to smoking as a major cause of avoidable cancer!

According to an international report by the American Institute for Cancer Research, about one-third of the world’s cancers could be avoided if everyone ate better, exercised more and weighed less. This new report is based on a five-year study involving nine teams of scientists from around the world and 21 international experts who analyzed more than 7,000 large-scale studies. It’s the most comprehensive look ever at the evidence linking cancer to diet, physical activity and weight.

Shed Those Pounds

The report puts special emphasis on weight – particularly around the waist – and its impact on several kinds of cancer. In fact, being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, and cancers of the colon, pancreas, kidney, endometrium and esophagus.

There are several likely reasons why excess weight increases risk, but the report highlights cancer-promoting hormones (estrogen, androgen and progesterone), growth factors (insulin, insulin-like growth factors and leptin) and inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6), which are all elevated in people who are obese. Being overweight also increases insulin resistance, which itself a risk factor for endometrial and colon cancer, and possibly cancers of the pancreas and kidney. The good news is that the risk for all of these cancers decreases as you shed the pounds.

Get Moving

One major reason we pack on the pounds is because we’ve become a nation of couch potatoes. Yet all kinds of physical activity protect against colon cancer – and quite possibly postmenopausal breast cancer and endometrial cancer, too. Why? According to the report, active people have healthier levels of circulating hormones and are less likely to gain weight.

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Humans aren’t genetically wired to be as sedentary as we are today. Until the dawn of the 20th century, people have generally worked hard to scratch out a living – and most of that work came in the form of physical labor. But between our desk jobs, drive thrus and remote controls, we have to make the time and effort to exercise.

That doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon. Physical activity equivalent to brisk walking for at least 30 minutes every day will do the trick. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate, or 30 minutes or more of vigorous, physical activity every day. And try to limit sedentary habits like watching T.V., which is often accompanied by high-calorie snacking.

Get Specific

Along with our sedentary lifestyle, the report places the blame for our burgeoning waistlines squarely on the excessive consumption of sugary beverages and calorie-dense foods high in fat and sugar. Add to that the sad truth that we don’t eat nearly enough fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

To prevent becoming overweight, the experts advocate a mostly plant-based diet. Plant foods seem to protect against cancers of the digestive tract, lung and prostate by boosting antioxidant levels along with dietary fiber. Plant-based diets have also long been linked to less risk of becoming overweight, which offers further cancer protection. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Getting two servings in by lunchtime will increase your odds of hitting this goal by day’s end.

The report also throws up a caution flag on meat since a high intake of red and processed meats – hot dogs, lunch meat and meats preserved by smoking – increases the risk of colorectal cancer. These foods are often high in fat, but other factors likely contribute to the link, specifically iron, nitrates, ammonia and heterocyclic amines formed by cooking meat at high temperatures. And while the report recommends no more than 18 ounces of red and processed meat per week (approximately 4.5 four ounce servings), it’s even better if you can limit your intake to just two or three servings per week.

Salt is another culprit because of its link to stomach cancer – not to mention its role in hypertension. Try to limit your sodium intake to a total of 2,400 mg. a day at most (the average American gets 4,000 to 5,000 mg. per day). Avoiding soft drinks, limiting the intake of high-calorie foods and processed fast foods not only save you calories, they are notoriously high in sodium. Other hidden sources of sodium include canned soups, salad dressing, commercial bread, canned fish and vegetables, and cheeses.

As you clean up your diet, make weight loss a priority. If you’re overweight, start making small changes to lose weight: exercise, avoid sugary drinks and significantly limit calorie-rich foods like fast foods and other foods high in fat and sugar. You’ll not only guard against cancer, you’ll look and feel better too!

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This has recently been revealed to be one of the only real breakthroughs in prostate health.

The seeds of a strange fruit (sometimes called "Chinese Apples") hold powerful phytonutrients that are a revolution in prostate health.

In fact, UCLA and Veterans Administration research have now proved this to be true.

Not only that, but it may be the worlds quickest solution for ending prostate misery.

Simply stated, these phytonutrients represent a huge step beyond beta sitosterol, saw palmetto, and other phytosterols alone.

Simply click HERE if you want to have fast prostate relief...restful, uninterrupted sleep...no more constant "urges to go"...enhanced virility...and optimal prostate support for life.

One Last Thing …

Bad habits also contribute to increasing your risk of avoidable cancers. If you drink alcohol, do so cautiously since alcohol has been linked to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon/rectum (in men) and breast. But given that other evidence links moderate alcohol consumption to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the experts recommend limiting alcohol to no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women. (One “drink” is a 12-ounce beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits.) Cheers!

This Just In …

Lately I’ve been getting e-mails from subscribers taking cholesterol-lowering medications. Their concern? Recent reports that consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice can adversely interact with statin drugs.

Some statins, like Mevacor (lovastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin), do indeed interact with this tart citrus fruit. As a result, grapefruit can potentially increase the risk of side effects. That’s why the drugs usually come with warnings not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice.

The problem occurs because grapefruit contains a chemical that inactivates a liver enzyme involved in drug metabolism. As a result, regular consumption of grapefruit juice can lead to excessively high levels of statins in the blood and boost the risk of liver damage and severe muscle weakness.

That said, researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem are investigating whether taking a statin along with grapefruit juice could allow for lower doses of these potentially harmful drugs. The scientists divided 57 men and women who had recently undergone coronary bypass surgery and whose blood cholesterol remained high despite treatment with statin drugs into three groups. One group ate a single serving of red grapefruit every day; another ate a serving of white grapefruit and the third group had none. At the end of 30 days, the researchers found that the grapefruit eaters – especially those eating red grapefruit – had significant decreases in cholesterol, while the abstainers did not.

This combo might also have the potential to treat stubbornly high cholesterol levels. But don’t try this at home! Combining grapefruit and statins to lower cholesterol levels is an experimental remedy that should be only done under close medical supervision.

Of course, statin drugs shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, it should only be used as a last resort. If your cholesterol is just slightly on the high side, opt for natural ways to reduce your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels like fish oil supplements or non-flushing niacin. You might also talk to your doctor about red yeast rice – a compound that acts like a natural statin. An added benefit – a study at UCLA recently discovered that red yeast rice also inhibits colon cancer growth.

Plus, following the dietary advice outlined above won’t just cut your cancer risk and help to keep you lean and mean – a plant-based diet combined with exercise can also slash your cholesterol levels!

So what are you waiting for? Using these tips as a starting point, begin making small changes that can add up to a healthier lifestyle. It’s not as hard as you think – and you might even make 2008 your best year yet!


Dahan A, Altman H. “Food-drug interaction: grapefruit juice augments drug bioavailability–mechanism, extent and relevance.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;58:1-9.

De Castro WV, Mertens-Talcott S, Rubner A. et al. “Variation of Flavonoids and Furanocoumarins in Grapefruit Juices: A Potential Source of Variability in Grapefruit Juice-Drug Interaction Studies.” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2006; 54: 249-255.

Hong MY, Seeram NP, Zhang Y, et al. “Anticancer effects of Chinese red yeast rice versus monacolin K alone on colon cancer cells.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Available online 14 September 2007.

World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. Washington D.C. AICR 2007.

Healthy Thanksgiving Meal

By Bonnie Jenkins, Advanced Natural Medicine

As we gear up for Thanksgiving, you may be wondering if it’s possible to serve up a healthy, yet festive, feast this year. Absolutely! The traditional foods of the season also happen to be ultra healthy – if you make them the right way.

Most of the foods typically served are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They can also offer up a cornucopia of antioxidants to keep disease at bay. And what better way to show your family and friends just how much they mean to you than by helping them stay healthy during the holidays?

So, let’s get cooking!

Let’s Talk Turkey

A perfectly roasted turkey is the centerpiece of a memorable Thanksgiving feast. It can also be a wonderfully healthy source of lean protein and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays an important role in the synthesis of serotonin – the brain chemical that helps to regulate sleep and appetite, mediates moods, and inhibits pain. Tryptophan is also a precursor in the creation of niacin.

Turkey is a terrific source of iron, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin B6. Best of all, a three-and-a-half ounce serving of white meat (about the size of a deck of cards) is less than 200 calories! No wonder Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird!

Unless you’re feeding an army, forget roasting a whole turkey. Instead, look for a nice meaty breast – preferably grown without hormones or antibiotics. And don’t even think about deep frying your bird! Instead, set it on a rack in a roasting pan so the fat drains away. Brush the turkey with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Add some white wine or chicken stock to the pan for basting.

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To add even more flavor, gently slip your fingers under the skin, creating a pocket. You can then rub crushed garlic or dried thyme or tarragon underneath the skin, directly on the meat. If you do cook a whole turkey, add cut oranges, onions and sprigs of fresh herbs inside instead of the same old stuffing. Not only will you boost the flavor, you’ll add important nutrients to the meal.

Stuff It!

If you want to boost the nutritional value of stuffing, toss out the bread! Instead, create a savory stuffing using a mixture of barley and dried fruits – especially apricots – for a real taste treat. Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains and provides lots of soluble fiber. This earthy grain also boasts antioxidants, vitamin E and selenium.

Eaten regularly, barley – like other whole grains – can help reduce blood pressure. In one study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 people experienced lower blood pressure after eating barley for five weeks. Barley can also help you manage blood sugar levels and reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Not thrilled with barley? Try quinoa. Although not a common item in most kitchens, quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a lovely nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It’s also an ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”

Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete, which means that it includes all nine essential amino acids. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese, as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable if you suffer from migraine headaches, diabetes or atherosclerosis.

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And All the Trimmings

At our house, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without a variety of side dishes. And what better place to sneak in some good nutrition?

Broccoli: Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains sulforaphane and indoles – phytonutrients that have significant anti-cancer effects. It’s also packed with vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and fiber. Steam with some crushed garlic and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan cheese before serving.

Brussels Sprouts: Another member of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts also boast sulforaphane, as well as a hefty amount of vitamins C and K. In one trial, researchers in the Netherlands investigated the effect of a diet high in Brussels sprouts on DNA damage. They compared two groups of healthy male volunteers. Five men ate a diet that included about 10 ounces of cooked Brussels sprouts daily, while the other five men ate a diet free of cruciferous vegetables. After three weeks, the group that ate Brussels sprouts had 28 percent less DNA damage. Reduced DNA damage may translate to a reduced risk of cancer, since mutations in DNA allow cancer cells to develop.

Cranberries: For hundreds of years, cranberries have been valued for their ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. In a placebo-controlled study of 153 elderly women, drinking cranberry juice cut the chances of developing a UTI by 50 percent. Cranberries prevent UTIs by acidifying the urine and by preventing bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. But forget sweetened cranberry juice or the jellied stuff in the can. To get the true benefits from this festive fruit, make your own cranberry relish with fresh, whole cranberries.

Sweet Potatoes: A standby during the holidays, sweet potatoes are one of the more nutritious vegetables around. Fiber-rich sweet potatoes contain unique root storage proteins that offer significant antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione – one of the body’s most impressive internally produced antioxidants. They are also one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

One Last Thing …

There’s an easy way to help your guests practice portion control during Thanksgiving dinner. While you’re busy in the kitchen, serve up a raw vegetable platter with a low-fat dip. Not only will you prevent having a bunch of ravenous guests around your dinner table, you’ll also sneak in some extra nutrition.

If you happen to be the guest instead of the cook, you can dampen your appetite with a wholesome snack an hour or two before you leave for the festivities. Opt for a snack containing both protein and complex carbs – cheese and whole-grain crackers or an apple with peanut butter.

Whether you’re the host or the guest, take a few minutes to remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for – family, friends and especially your health.

This Just In …

During the holidays, my aunt used to dig out the nut cracker and get busy. Cookies and breads were studded with almonds, pecans and walnuts. And, of course, a bowl filled with unshelled nuts always graced the coffee table. I’m sure my aunt didn’t know how healthy nuts were, but she was definitely on to something.

Nuts are still a good idea, and a new study is shining the light on one nut in particular – pistachios. According to research from Penn State University, pistachios are a heart-healthy superstar – significantly reducing inflammation at a cellular level. These tasty nuts also lower blood pressure and reduce total cholesterol by 8.4 percent and LDL cholesterol by 11.2 percent. If that weren’t enough, pistachios also provide more lutein than any other nut, making them an eye-friendly addition to your festivities.

So grab a handful of pistachios for a satisfying and healthy snack. In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving.


Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Hallfrisch J. “Whole-grain diets reduce blood pressure in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2006;106:1445-1449.

Fleet JC. “New support for a folk remedy: cranberry juice reduces bacteriuria and pyuria in elderly women.” Nutrition Reviews. 1994;52:168-170.

Scott-Thomas Caroline. “Could heart-healthy pistachios be the new pomegranate?” NutraIngredients.com Oct 2008 29.

Verhagen H, Poulsen HE, Loft S, et al. Reduction of oxidative DNA-damage in humans by Brussels sprouts. Carcinogenesis. 1995;16:969-970.