Killer Kidney Stones by Maria Dorfner

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On November 1, I awoke with sudden, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.    The kind of pain that unleashes a primal scream.

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Cue Bernard Hermann’s music while Norman Bates stabs you repeatedly with a knife.

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It also feels like I have to urinate every two seconds, but can’t.  My mind races to what could have caused it.  I drank tap water for the only time the day prior. I also went to my sister’s Halloween party and ate things I don’t normally eat.

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Almonds. Do I eat too many?   I workout every day. Did I overdo it?

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OR is it the lengthy conversation I had with someone the night before about my disappointment at what a girl in her twenties had said at work. She said she didn’t believe in love.  I fell asleep thinking how sad it is that anyone in the world would believe  that. Was this  psychosomatic?  Did I bring it on myself with my thoughts?

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Running to the restroom interrupts my self-recrimination.  I shower and dress for work anyway, hoping it will eventually stop.

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It gets WORSE.  I call the doctor and he tells me to come in.  The first question I’m asked is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever, how bad is it.  I answer 9.  The doctor scribbles something down and disappears for what feels like days.  Did he not hear me?

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He returns and hands me a cup.  He tells me to do the best I can. Horrified by the filthy bathroom I run to another one.

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Hours waiting for results feels like days. The doc finally returns and says it’s a bladder infection –very common, not to worry.

I tell him it feels more like a kidney stone in my ureter. I point to location. Doc looks at me wondering how I even know such a term.

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He reluctantly agrees to take an x-ray.  I’m thinking he’s delighted to 1. prove me wrong and 2. bill me for doing it.

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I recall Dad having a kidney stone. He looked like Capt. Kirk  fighting a sentient reptilian humanoid when I drove him to the hospital.

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But the doc returns smiling smugly to state  x-ray shows nothing. He sends me home with an antibiotic and still in pain.

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I return to work and my daily routine, but the pain worsens. By Nov. 7, it’s unbearable. So much so that I go to the ER.

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Again, the doctor asks on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how bad is it?

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This time, I scream like Nadia Comaneci’s judges in the ’76 Olympics.  TEN! TEN! TEN!  He vanishes for hours, as if I shouted ONE.

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Finally, the doc returns. He’s orders a CT Scan.  I’m brought into a room with GE equipment that looks like it must have cost 200K.

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I begin to wonder what it will cost, as the machine propels me towards the inner tunnel stopping at my lower abdomen.

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When it stops, an OZ sounding voice on a speaker says, “Hold your breath.  Breathe.”  3 x’s. In. Out. 5 min. Done. More my speed.

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I wait for results.  Doc returns to say it’s a kidney stone lodged in my ureter–no bladder infection. I refrain from saying told you so.

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Instead, I ask if I could see it, and the doctor laughs as though no one has ever asked such a dumb question.

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Humor me.  He says okay and I follow him to a computer screen.  I see it. A tiny white speck that has me feeling like I’m giving birth to triplets.

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I name them “Pebbles and Bam Bam.” The doc laughs some more.

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I am fascinated by how something so tiny could feel like a jagged BOULDER shredding everything in its path.

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After the CT scan diagnosis, I’m given a shot in my arm for the excruciating pain I had now been in for 7 days and nights.

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They also prescribe Naproxen to widen the thin ureter tube to help the stone dislodge naturally, and Percocet as needed for pain.

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I’m then handed 3 white paper funnels with a filter at bottom and told to urinate in it at home.   There are different types of stones, and the only way the doctor can analyze which one you have is for you to catch it while urinating & return the specimen.

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They tell me to return if it doesn’t dissolve naturally, which can take hours  or up to three weeks.  Three weeks?!!  Good Golly.  I find this graph later.

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Based on it, my .3mm has almost an 80% chance of passing naturally within 12.2 days. Some say a kidney stone less than .5mm in size can dissolve naturally within 3 hours or a few days.  Nice.  I aimed for THAT.   Mission accomplished. :-)

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Based on the stone location, which I only knew because I asked to see it, I have a 75% chance of it departing naturally.

If you are diagnosed with a kidney stone, be sure to ask your doctor:  1. How big is it? 2.  Where is it located? Write it down or ask him to for you because you may be in too much pain to process the information at the time.  It helps you make a best treatment option decision.

Based on the size and location of mine, I feel better determined to give natural birth to Pebbles and Bam, Bam.

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The following is recommended to stay comfortable while waiting for a kidney stone to pass:

1.  Prescription pain killer taken as needed or over-the-counter Ibuprofen (recommended dose from your doctor or pharmacist) or take warm baths and use a heating pad on painful areas, as needed.

2.  Drink twelve 8 oz. glasses of water daily, or six 16 oz. bottles of water daily.  Here’s a visual.

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I ask what caused it and the doc says they don’t really know what causes kidney stones.

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I need to prevent this from EVER happening again, so I wanted answers.  All he advised is to drink lots of water.

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I already drink tons of water! He tells me drink more.  I ask a lot more questions, but get no answers.

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What caused it and how can I prevent it from happening again?  I put on my sleuth hat to answer my questions.

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The Nancy Drew of Health will get to the bottom of it. But I find a lot of scattered and misleading information.

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I find this to be true with most health information out there.  It overwhelms people at a time when they are already worried.

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It’s scary that the medical community, government and those reporting information don’t always have our best interests at heart.

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It’s not that the information isn’t out there. It’s just all over the place, unreliable or contradictory.

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For instance, I’ve always heard CRANBERRY JUICE is good for kidney stones.  Not so. It can actually cause them. Very high in oxalate.

More here:  http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Regulation/FDA-seizes-another-2-million-worth-of-DMAA-products?nocount

HERE’S SOME INFORMATION TO HELP YOU:

First, here’s a diagram of the Ureter inside your body. They are long thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

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Muscles in the ureter wall continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward.

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They are so narrow that if something the size of a tiny pearl gets lodged in there –it blocks the flow of urine causing intense pain.

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1. What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are a hard mass of crystals that form from minerals in your urine.  This hard mass that can vary in size from a tiny pea to a golf ball can get stuck in the narrow tube connecting your kidneys and bladder. The pain is caused by the wall of the uretra being unable to tighten and relax as it continually does forcing urine downward.  Think of the waves or splashing caused if you suddenly placed a large boulder in a flowing river. Only it’s waves of intense pain inside your body made by something that may be smaller than a grain of rice. Some can be larger with the largest and most painful being the size of a golf ball.

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2.  What causes kidney stones? 

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Wearinghouse, kidney stones are caused when the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, calcium, oxalate, phosphorous and other substances found in urine changes.  Family history and not drinking enough fluid is the number one cause.

The real question is what causes the normal balance to change?

I’m a huge fan of examining what you eat first whenever you have ANY health issue.  The process of elimination (or adding what may be needed) is a great way to see if there is a link.  The list of foods to avoid is endless.  See #5.

3.  Who gets kidney stones?  Anyone can get one.  Men are twice as likely to get them as women.

4.  How much water do I need to drink daily? Six 16 oz. or twelve 8 oz. bottles daily.  Add fresh lemon whenever you can.

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5.  What do I need to avoid?

  1. Limit caffeine to 300 mg. daily, cup of tea has 80 mg. and 8 oz. coffee has 150 mg.
  2. Pizza
  3. Bread rolls
  4. cheese
  5. black pepper
  6. beats
  7. strawberries
  8. dry beans
  9. peanuts
  10. almonds
  11. cashews
  12. black tea
  13. soy beans
  14. tofu
  15. meat substitutes with soy
  16. dark leafy green vegetables
  17. chocolate
  18. more than 1000 mg. Vitamin C
  19. Cranberries (loaded with oxalates)
  20. hazlenuts
  21. swiss chard
  22. sweet potatoes,
  23. soy products
  24. cured meats
  25. bacon
  26. pickles
  27. sauerkraut
  28. kimchi
  29. soda
  30. sweetened drinks
  31. high levels of Vitamin D (lifeguards get more kidney stones out in sun more)
  32. salty foods
  33. fish liver
  34. food or drinks with high fructose corn syrup
  35. alcohol
  36. pork
  37. grapefruit juice
  38. diuretics
  39. calcium based antacids
  40. reduce sodium to 800 mg. daily
  41. animal protein (meat, fish, eggs)
  42. hot dogs
  43. canned soup and vegetable
  44. luncheon meats
  45. fast food
  46. processed frozen food,
  47. spinach
  48. rhubarb
  49. wheat bran
  50. diet low in carbs
  51. beware of hidden sodium
  52. too much protein
  53. low carbs.
  54. Anything high in sugar, sodium (salt) or protein

 6.  What foods CAN  I safely eat? 

  1. Bananas
  2. Pumpkin seeds (soak before eating)
  3. Avocado
  4. Legumes
  5. Think of meat, fish and poultry as garnish to your email, and not the main course. Buy all meat, fish and poultry fresh.
  6. Bran flakes
  7. Oats
  8. Wheat
  9. Rice
  10. Mango
  11. Add lemon to your water (half a cup of lemon)
  12. Apple cider vinegar
  13. magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, vitamin K2 & A, B6
  14. Carrots
  15. Whole wheat bread
  16. Wheat cereal
  17. Oat bran
  18. Beans
  19. Drink lemonade made from real lemons.
  20.  Calcium in food form only (no supplements) and limit it daily (one yogurt). One woman said she got kidney stones from drinking milk.
  21. Lime, citrus fruits

One study says ONE glass of wine a day can help prevent kidney stones, so add that to the list. I’ll keep updating this list.

According to Dr. Oz:

Foods that can prevent kidney stones:

  1. Bottled water
  2. Oranges
  3. Yogurt
  4. Lentils

Foods that can cause kidney stones:

  1. Black tea
  2. Beets
  3. Spinach
  4. Potato chips

I’m guilty of #3.  I absolutely love spinach with olive oil and garlic.   There still isn’t a lot on the CAN EAT list.

7.  How is a kidney stone treated?   If the stone is smaller than 5mm, it will most likely pass on its own. The doctor can prescribe something to help move it along and something for the pain.  If it is larger than 5mm, the most common medical procedure for treating kidney stones is known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This therapy uses high-energy shock waves to break a kidney stone into little pieces. The small pieces can then move through the urinary tract more easily. Side effects can include bleeding, bruising, or pain after the procedure. There is also another procedure where they physician can go in with a tube to break up the stone.

8.  How are kidney stones diagnosed?  1. Urine 2. Blood 3. X-Ray 4. CT Scan (most reliable)

  This information is provided by NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Last reviewed November 22, 2013.                                               

Kidney Stones: Oxalate-Controlled Diet

The Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Toll Free 866-223-2273 x1234

Your doctor has ordered a diet to help you decrease the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a compound that is naturally present in many foods. The following six factors increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

1. The amount of oxalate in certain foods.

Although many foods contain oxalate, only nine foods are known to increase oxalate in the urine and kidney stone formation. They are: beets, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, and all dry beans (fresh, canned, or cooked), excluding lima and green beans. It is best to avoid these foods.

2. The amount of calcium in your diet.

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. You need calcium in your diet to bind oxalate in the intestines. This helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Consuming a moderate amount of calcium every day (2 to 3 servings) from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods is recommended. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.

3. The vitamin C content of your diet.

Oxalate is an end product of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) metabolism. Large doses of Vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation. If you are taking a supplement, do not take more than 500 mg of Vitamin C daily.

4. The amount of fluids in your diet.

It is very important to drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day. At least 5-6 glasses should be water. You may also want to consider drinking lemonade. Research suggests that lemonade may be helpful in reducing the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation.

5. The amount of protein in your diet.

Eating large amounts of protein may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Your daily protein needs can usually be met with 2-3 servings a day, or 4 to 6 ounces.

6. The amount of sodium in your diet.

Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to 2-3 grams per day. Limit eating processed foods such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausage, canned products, dry soup mixes, sauerkraut, pickles, and various convenience mixes.

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan a well-balanced diet. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary for the proper functioning, maintenance, and repair of your body. In addition to these major nutrients, the body requires water, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

Urology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-5600 Nephrology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-6771

        This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace  the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider.  Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2013 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

FACTOIDS

  • Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract
  • Each year in the U.S. people make more than one million visits to their healthcare providers, and more than 300,000 people go to the Emergency Room for kidney stone problems
  • Anyone can get one
  • If you have one you’re more likely to get it again within 7 years
  • 12% men, 6% women
  • Ages 20 to 50
  • Drinking lots of water is the most recommended way to prevent them (when your urine is clear or light yellow you are drinking enough)
  • Men are twice as likely as women to get kidney stones (12% of men develop them in their lifetime)

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Effective Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

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8 millimeters (0.31 in) in diameter Kidney Stones

One of the most crucial organs in your body is the kidneys. This is because the kidneys function in not only enabling your body to detox, but get rid of impurities from our blood stream in addition to waste products from your urine. Unfortunately, these vital functions of the kidney can be hampered by numerous ailments. Kidney stone is one of the kidney ailments that affect millions of people worldwide. Whereas it might not be life-threatening as kidney failure the pain that comes with kidney stones can be unbearable.

Therefore, by virtue of being on this page chances are that you are looking for information in regards to natural remedies for kidney stones. If that is the case, then keep reading to the very last paragraph of this article.

Natural home remedies for kidney stones

The best way to get rid of kidney stones is to opt for natural remedies. As such, this article has listed a number of cures for kidney stones that you can use at home and enhance your healing process. Or you can read other natural solutions information on this Kidney Stones Removal Report 

Kidney Stone Removal Report Is Endorsed by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar plus olive oil

This is one of the natural home remedies that is not only easily available in your home, but quite efficient when it comes to curing kidney stones naturally. Symptoms such as abdominal pain can be managed by blending olive oil with lemon juice extract. After drinking the mixture, ensure that you have drunk at least 12 ounces of water. Wait for at least 30 minutes before blending 0.5 ounces of lemon juice in 12 ounces of water. Add one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before drinking. Repeat this cycle every one hour until the pain has subsided.

Uva Ursi

This is also another effective natural home remedy for kidney stones. On top of enabling to combat infections that are triggered with the onset of kidney stones, Uva Ursi also functions in assisting in pain reduction and cleansing of the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take 500 milligram at least twice in a day.

Dandelion Root

The dandelion root has been used for years to treat and manage the symptoms associated with kidney stones. In addition to relieving the pain triggered by kidney stones, organic dandelion root functions in cleansing the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 500 milligrams of organic dandelion root two times in a day.

Kidney Beans

One of the foods that doctors and other nutritionist recommend for healthy kidneys are kidney beans. Unknown to a majority of people is that kidney stones have been utilized for ages as a medicinal decoction. Remove the beans from the pods and then boil the beans I purified water for at least 6 hours. Take a cheese garment and strain the liquid. Give the liquid a couple of hours to cool down before taking it. To ease the pain, it is highly suggested that you drink the liquid throughout the day.

Horsetail

Diuretic horsetails are easily accessible in the market and can be used in making horsetail tea. By drinking up to 4 cups of horsetail tea in a day, which is an equivalent of two grams of the thyme pill per day will enable you to eradicate the signs and symptoms triggered by kidney stones.

Pomegranate Juice

There is no doubt that pomegranate plant offers immense health benefits. However, more particularly, the juice as well as the seeds of the pomegranate plant can be regarded as a pure natural remedy for kidney stones. Doctors and scientists have attributed this to the acerbic and caustic traits of the plant. For best results, it is highly recommended that you eat organic pomegranate plant or opt to drink freshly extracted pomegranate juice.

Magnesium

Numerous studies have revealed that persons who constantly suffer from recurring kidney stones are less likely to suffer from persistent kidney stones if they took magnesium. For best results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 300 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis. By doing so, you will be able to deter instances of kidney stones and greatly minimize the signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones.

Organic Celery

Consuming either vegetal or celery seeds will enable you to deter the creation of kidney stones and reduce the signs and symptoms linked with kidney stones.

Basil

Doctors and scientists have been able to prove that taking basil tea can greatly enhance the general well-being of your kidneys.

Dietary change

Consuming unhealthy foods can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Hence, you need to curtail on the quantity of energy drinks as well as sodas that you consume. Moreover, you need to steer clear of processed foods plus alcoholic drinks. Furthermore, avoid foods that have high levels of oxalate such as rhubarb, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, soybean, wheat germ, okra, peanuts, and sweets (sugary foods and chocolates).

Water 

Make sure you are drinking sufficient water everyday to keep your body and kidneys hydrated specially during summer to prevent the increase chances of an imbalance in your kidneys.

Watermelon

In comparison to other types of vegetables, watermelon is packed with potassium salts. Moreover, it is made up of high water content that helps with hydration. For years, doctors and nutritionists have recommended watermelon as it is regarded as a best diuretic and as such can also be used as natural remedy for kidney stones.

Grapes

Grapes have long been regarded as the best home therapy for kidney stones. Grapes are made up of unique diuretic importance with respect to their excessive water substances as well as potassium salt. As a result of its minute sodium chloride plus albumin matter, grapes are of great importance when it comes to eliminating kidney issues.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also commonly referred to as pyridoxine has been found to have exceptional curative success when it comes to curing kidney stones. If you would like to attain lasting results, it is highly recommended that you consume a steady healing dosage of between 100mg and 150 milligram of vitamin B6 alongside other B complex vitamins.

Home remedies for kidney stones are natural and do not trigger unpleasant side effects, it is recommended that you see a general practitioner prior to using them  Or  Click Here To Remove Kidney Stones Painlessly

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Resources:
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 1–800–622–9010 or 212–889–2210
Fax: 212–689–9261
Internet: http://www.kidney.orgleaving site icon

Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation
201 East 19th Street, Suite 12E
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1–800–OHF–8699 (1–800–643–8699) or 212–777–0470
Fax: 212–777–0471
Email: kimh@ohf.org
Internet: http://www.ohf.orgleaving site icon

Urology Care Foundation
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 1–800–828–7866 or 410–689–3700
Fax: 410–689–3998
Email: info@urologycarefoundation.org
Internet: http://www.UrologyHealth.orgleaving site icon

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littleme1  About the Author: Maria Dorfner is a journalist who has been researching health since she was a kid.

linkedin110   This is  her first and hopefully her last experience with a killer kidney stone. She is the founder of NewsMD Communications and more recently, Healthy Within Network (HWN). MedCrunch is her blog. She began her professional career with an executive internship at NBC NEWS in New York City.  In college, she covered the health beat and ivy League Roundup.  She continued to work at NBC for six years before helping them successfully launch their cable station, CNBC.  She then developed and pitched several health series including Healthy Living,  Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Consumers, which she also senior produced and co-anchored on CNBC.  She wrote, produced and directed “21st Century Medicine” for Discovery Health and has worked as a media consultant/strategist for top hospitals, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies. She was awarded a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, Media Recognition Award for her series,  “Heart Smart” and numerous other awards for her health reporting and producing.  If you have any health topic you’d like to see explored here, you can email her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com Write “Topic for MedCrunch” in Subject line.

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New Health Study: Barefoot Running by Maria Dorfner

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Today, the Cleveland Clinic News Service (which yours truly helped create and launch) talks about barefoot running vs. shoes.

In 2011, I predicted barefoot running would take off.   Today, more and more runners are leaving their shoes behind.

But a recent study out of Taiwan found that with or without shoes, it’s HOW your foot strikes the ground that increases your chance of injury.   Dr. Susan Joy did not take part in the study, but treats patients at Cleveland Clinic SPORTS HEALTH.

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Runner's World magazine, published by Rodale s...

Runner’s World magazine, published by Rodale since 1971 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CG: Dr. Susan Joy/Cleveland Clinic Sports Health

Joy says, “The problem is that if you hit the ground really hard with your heel, that bone to bone contact there is not making use of all of the natural shock absorbers in the foot and the lower leg transmitting a lot of force up through the body and that can lead to injuries.“ [:12]

THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BAREFOOT RUNNERS AND SHOE WEARING RUNNERS IS THE LANDING PATTERN.

BAREFOOT RUNNERS TEND TO LAND ON THEIR FOREFOOT AND NOT THEIR HEELS, WHICH PROVIDES BETTER SHOCK ABSORPTION AND REDUCES INJURY RATES.

NATIONAL TAIWAN NORMAL UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS USED HIGH SPEED CAMERAS AND 3-D IMAGING ON 20 RUNNERS.

THE STUDY FOUND BOTH BAREFOOT AND SHOE-WEARING RUNNERS CAN GAIN MORE SHOCK ABSORPTION BY CHANGING THEIR STRIKING PATTERN TO A FOREFOOT STRIKE AND THAT YOUR CALF MUSCLES WILL ALSO HELP CARRY THE LOAD.

BUT SHOE-WEARING RUNNERS MAY BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO INJURY IF THEY DECIDE TO RUN BAREFOOT AND CONTINUE TO USE A HEEL-STRIKE PATTERN.

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DR. JOY AGREES.

 CG: Dr. Susan Joy/Cleveland Clinic Sports Health

Joy says, “If you’re thinking either a barefoot technology or a minimalist or a lighter weight shoe you just have to make sure you’re paying extra attention to your gait. Because you can’t take a less-efficient gait and just put those on and expect the shoe to make the changes. What the shoe does is it makes you concentrate more on how you’re hitting the ground, which then, slowly over time allows you to adapt better to a new gait pattern.“ [:21]

COMPLETE FINDINGS FOR THIS STUDY ARE PUBLISHED IN JOURNAL “GAIT AND POSTURE.” 

[VT of Dr. Susan Joy's soundbites/VO on Pathfire #9139 from Cleveland Clinic News Service]

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 walking
 
 

“Many runners believe shoes have magical properties that they probably lack,” says Amby Burfoot, an executive editor at Runner’s World Magazine.

“Mainly we run in shoes for comfort and safety, reasons that are compelling enough for me.” -excerpt from The Barefoot Root by Zoie Clift www.marathonandbeyond.com/choices/htm

Two years ago, I wrote the following article about barefoot running shoes. It was inspired by my seeing someone wearing them at the gym. Her name was Vena Cook-Clark.  It was the first time I had seen them, and they looked so odd. I asked lots of questions, and thought readers could benefit from what I learned.
 
Barefoot running shoes have gained popularity since then, since I spotted a lot of them used in the Boston Marathon.  I spotted them in Boston Magazine’s cover photo with runner’s sneakers in the shape of a heart.  I posted the beautiful cover on my Facebook wall, and later that evening Anderson Cooper ended his program with a full-screen shot of it.

 

Here’s a glimpse back:
 
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 photo:  Vena Cook-Clark on the treadmill in her barefoot running shoes
 
Running the Distance by Maria Dorfner
 

Following a good workout, my head was lowered as I sat in the sauna sweating like a turkey on Thanksgiving Eve. My lowered eyes couldn’t help but notice and follow what was the oddest footwear that I’d ever seen at the gym. They sauntered into the sauna like an alien entering a spaceship.

At first, I thought sweat was clouding my vision. As I wiped the dripping water from my weary eyeballs, I realized I wasn’t seeing things. These toes were webbed into a bright royal blue, ribbed, rubber-like material.

English: Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes, top ...

English: Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes, top view. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I instantly recalled a pair of socks fitted for all five toes, which I had seen in stores around the holidays in bright Christmas colors of red, green and white.

I’ve never tried those type of socks on, as I figured it’d take too long to wiggle my fat toes into them. Ideally, when my feet are cold, I like to pull my socks on like a fireman reaching for gear at a four-alarm-fire. No time for messing around. I want my gloves and socks without complications.

But these weren’t socks. Before me were half socks, half water shoes.

When I raised my eyes, sitting beside me was a woman listening to music on her iPod. She probably didn’t want to be disturbed. But my curiosity got the best of me. So, I tapped her on her shoulder to inquire about her odd footwear. What on earth were they? She laughed, and said they were her new running shoes.

Running shoes? Did I hear her right? Were my ears waterlogged from swimming? Apparently not, as she went on to say she absolutely loved them because they made her run faster and they were healthier for her feet.

Healthier? As someone who specializes in health, my interest was peaked even more now. I asked more questions. Her name was Vena Cook-Clark, age 27, and she’d been running as a hobby for 6 years.

Originally, the unusual look and lightness of the shoes grabbed her attention. She read that barefoot running was better for her alignment, and it was enough to make her plunk down the asking price of $100.00 to give them a try.

When she brought them home, her husband joked they looked like she had “alien toes,” but now, she exclaims he wants a pair too. I asked if they were difficult to put on. She said it gets easier after the first few times, and it’s worth the trouble. She added, “It was awkward running with them initially, but after about 2 weeks I got used to them and now want another pair for hiking.”

A woman wears Vibram "Five Fingers" ...

A woman wears Vibram “Five Fingers” shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She boasted about how easy it is to toss them in the wash with the rest of her running or working out clothing. She told me they were manufactured by a company named Vibram and told me I could find them on the internet by Googling “Vibram Five Fingers.”

When I got home that evening, I did just that. I instantly found what was called a “Barefoot Movement.” Purists preferred the term, “Minimalist Movement,” since you’re not really barefoot while wearing them. First, I wanted to find out if there really were health benefits to wearing them.

Turns out, a 2010 study from India says children who wore shoes before the age of 6 were more likely to develop flat feet than kids who ran around barefoot. They also had better developed longitudinal arches. Statistically, 8.2% of kids who wore shoes regularly suffered from flat feet compared to 2.8% of barefoot kids. The study was published in The Times of India.

I also learned I’m not the first person to discover this study. In 2009, Christopher McDougall wrote a New York Time’s bestseller called, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen”. It offered an in-depth look at the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyons. They ran hundreds of miles over rugged terrain in bare feet, and they ran into their 70′s without any sign of injury. Die-hard runners took note, and made the switch.

English: Bare feet running

English: Bare feet running (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wondered what physicians thought about them.

Last year, Harvard scientists, demonstrated that people who run barefoot or with minimal shoes – as people have done for millions of years – often land on their feet in a way that avoids a jarring impact. Less pounding equates to less stress and injury on the foot.

PBS has a video that visually demonstrates what your feet look like when they are running with regular sneaker vs. what they look like when you’re running barefoot or with minimalist sneakers. It’s interesting to note how your feet land on the ground differently. Minimalist shoes have you land on the ball of your foot instead of the heel.

The majority of physicians claim they are indeed better for your feet and “may” prevent injury. There’s that word “may” instead of can, which doctors say when they want to cover themselves. Non-committal, yet they state anyone with plantar fasciitis or any type of foot injury from running may benefit from them.

Physicians offer the following advice if you switch from your regular running sneakers to minimalist sneakers. Start slowly. They recommend you start by using them on trails and grassy surfaces before hitting cement or pavement.

If you’re interested in gaining the benefits of running barefoot, experts say that you need to prepare your feet before you make the switch. You can do so by:

 
1. fanning your toes, holding for 10 seconds, 10 times a day per foot.
2. Flex your feet for 5 seconds, then release.
3. Trace letters in the alphabet with your feet in mid-air each day.
4. Stand on your tippy-toes, and
5. Side walk.

The above seems like a lot of fancy footwork, but wearers like Vena Cook-Clark rave about them, and won’t be going back to regular running shoes anytime soon. Clark says, “I look at my old running shoes and can’t believe I used to lug those heavy things around in my gym bag. I love these and I run so much faster now and my feet feel so much better afterwards.”

English: Vibram FiveFingers KSO

English: Vibram FiveFingers KSO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were founded by Dan Lieberman and Peter Von Conta. Fitness experts have since made the switch and word-of-mouth about them is rapidly spreading because the footwear causes curious people, like myself, to inquire about them.

Stephen Meade, founder of BigBamboo, LLC says he’s seen a guy wear them to meetings under a suit. He said you can’t help but notice and inquire about them. He did and says the guy who wears them is a marathoner and swears by them. Meade can’t wait to get a pair himself.

Although, Brian Cuban, an avid runner who has run 8 marathons with his best time being 3:27 in the Marine Corps. Marathon says he’d never use them.

Cuban, who in addition to running marathons, is also an attorney, writer, blogger and speaker, believes they will always be a niche item for high distance runners. He doesn’t see them ever catching on mainstream.

Cuban said, “I have too many existing foot and knee issues to make them viable. I need to decrease my strike force, not increase it.”

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Andrew Baldwin, M.D. who is also an avid marathon runner agrees.

Baldwin is not a big fan of minimalist shoes. He says, “They’re correct in theory, but with our overweight society with bone structure accustomed to heavy lifting, it can be dangerous and lead to injury.”

Andy Baldwin, M.D. knows a bit about health and fitness, both professionally and personally. He’s been running since he was a kid, and has completed 35 marathons and 8 iron mans.

Baldwin is a triathlete, humanitarian, U.S. Navy diver and media personality currently serving as a family medicine resident at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in Southern California. He has also served at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C. as a spokesman and advocate for Navy medicine.

While in D.C. he assisted the U.S. Surgeon General with a program called Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future and currently serves as an advocate for the Let’s Move Campaign headed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Both of these programs target childhood overweight and obesity.

On a side note, he was also the star of the ABC hit show, “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Yet, despite low opinions, sales are on the rise.

Sales for the Vibram Five Finger shoes have tripled every year since their launch in 2006. And sales continue to grow. So these rubber-soled, light as air running shoes may be more than a passing fad within the fitness industry.

The biggest complaint from consumers to date has been that the seams tear after 90-days. Consequently, the warranty on them is you guessed it, 90-days. But, the upside about that is the manufacturer, Vibram, will promptly replace them at no cost if that happens. So far, the customer service has been excellent, and they’ve been around since 2006. The second complaint is blisters. But traditional running shoes can give you blisters too.

The webbed running shoes may look dorky and weird, but they’re super comfortable, like being barefoot, only your feet are completely protected from sharp objects and stones. They also keep your feet warm. If you’re renovating your home and have nails on the floor, they could be a benefit or if you have small children who leave all sorts of things lying around, they could also be a smart substitute for wearing socks around your home.

I also bumped into Vena Cook-Clark at the gym again, and she ran up to me in her Vibrams to tell me she was thrilled to announce she had gotten a second pair for hiking, and that her husband was now sporting a pair, loving them.

Skeptics who may not want to use them for running, are using them for comfort and grip during weight lifting, yoga, bike-riding or plain old walking.

I recently walked through a mall, and couldn’t help but spot them in all the footwear stores. They come in a variety of attractive, vibrant colors for both men and women. When you lift them it’s exciting to feel how light and flexible they are and there is a buzz in stores with people talking about them.

Last month, runners wore them in a 5K race in the Oshkosh Half Marathon. And you can’t walk into an athletic footwear store without seeing them on the shelves. Top brands are starting to get into the race. Nike and New Balance just introduced “Minimalist Sneakers” this week.

Current Top 5 Brands for “Minimalist Sneakers” which cost approx. $100. are:

1. Vibram
2. Nike
3. New Balance
4. Reebok
5. Brooks

As for me, I still want my gloves, socks and sneakers without complications. But I’m willing to give these a try, if only for the light weight for carrying them around. I’m also thinking they’d be great for walking on the beach in the sand. I love the feel of sand of my toes, but there’s always a chance of stepping on something sharp. I like to walk/run by the ocean and these seem like a good alternative to bulky traditional shoes. I also like the non-webbed toe version, which are even lighter in weight than the Vibrams. They’re easier to toss into a beach bag than traditional running shoes. I recently tried Stand-Up Paddle boarding and I could see using them for that as well.

Vibrams weight is 5.7 ounces. The Mizuno Universe 3 (price $119.99) weighs 3.6 ounces and has a closed toe as you’d see on a traditional sneaker, so no alien toes.

As summer approaches, you may see more and more of these minimalist running shoes, and do a double-take as I did. If they are durable and people like them, I believe word-of-mouth will have these minimalist shoes going the distance like a Tarahumara Indian in Mexico’s Copper Canyons.

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English: Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes, inne...

English: Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes, inner side (facing other foot). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also enjoyed The Boston Globe Magazine article, “The Great Running Experiment” by Shira Spring.  Check that out if this is a topic that interests you.

“The human foot is a work of art and a masterpiece of engineering.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

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Here’s a link to my original article, “Running the Distance” by Maria Dorfner

http://ezinearticles.com/?Running-the-Distance&id=6340199

 http://voices.yahoo.com/running-distance-8687583.html

Healthy Reflections by Maria Dorfner

nadia2
 
A healthy lesson I’d like to share from my youth is never strive for perfection.
 
I recall my inspiration for perfection in vivid detail. It was the Summer of 1976 in Brooklyn, NY.
I sat on the bright red carpet of my parent’s living room staring transfixed at the TV screen at
someone I then thought was perfect. Nadia Elena Comaneci, one of the best-known Romanian
gymnasts in the world, was awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic Gymnast event. She began
gymnastics in kindergarten. Kindergarten. Talk about getting a flexible leg up on the competition.
 
She was the first gymnast to perform a double back salto and a double-twist dismount, not to mention
the first ever to successfully perform an aerial cartwheel-back handspring flight series and aerial
walkover.  If you don’t know what that means, doesn’t matter. She did it perfectly is all you ever
need to know.
 
On July 18, 1976 at the Summer Olympics in Montreal, Nadia’s routine on the uneven bars was
scored at 10.0. It was the first time in modern Olympic gymnastics history that the score had
ever been awarded.  The scoreboards were not even equipped to display scores of 10.0, so her
perfect marks were flashed at 1.00 instead.  The applause from the crowd was triumphant.
She would go on to win six additional 10s from the floor exercise, bars titles and all-around
beam.
 
In case anyone missed it — ABC’s television program, World Wide of Sports replayed
constant s-l-o-w motion montages of Nadia.  In March 1976, she competed in the American
Cup at Madison Square Garden in New York City. She received unprecedented perfect
scores of 10, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, on a vault in both
the preliminary and final rounds of competition and won the all-around. She also received
10s in other meets in 1976, where she posted perfect marks on the uneven bars and vault.
 
She was named the United Press International’s “Female Athlete of the Year” for 1975.
She was the 1976 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the Associated Press’s 1976
“Female Athlete of the Year”. The New York Times headline the next day read:
Gymnast Posts Perfect Marks.
 
But the headline that would leave the most indelible mark in the mind of this twelve-year-old
was on the August 2, 1976 cover of TIME Magazine. Two words:
 
SHE’S PERFECT.
 
There was a lot going on in the world in 1976.  I was a newshound, so I followed it all. 
Lots of stuff I couldn’t control.  For starters, in NYC, the “Son of Sam” pulled a gun from
a paper bag, killing one person and seriously wounding another one.  It would be the
first of a series of attacks that would terrorize the city for the next year. Every night,
my Dad brought home the New York Post with progressively worse covers that
terrified us.  That year, the NJ Supreme Court also removed coma patient,
Karen Ann Quinlin from her ventilator. She died. The first known outbreak of the
Ebola virus happened in Yambuku, Zaire. I was busy researching that too. 
 
It wasn’t all bad news. It was the Bicentennial, so we were all obsessed with
red, white and blue and all things patriotic. That was fun. Steve Jobs and
Steve Wozniak formed Apple computer.  Exciting. The song,
Hotel California was released by the Eagles.  We were also introduced to
Casey Kasem’s Countdown.  Music was a welcome relief to all the scary stuff,
so I was dancing to things like Kung Fu Fighting and Shake, Shake, Shake. 
I listened to the music while exercising like a maniac indoors.  I couldn’t go
out anyway because the “Son of Sam” might get me. He was after brunettes. 
This worked for my desire to practice every day, so I could be perfect –just
like Nadia.  I couldn’t control scary news events, but I could control me.
 
It’s no surprise I made cheerleading after they saw my perfect chinese split. 
Afterall, when I wasn’t at school, I was religiously doing my gymnastic routines. 
I wanted to be perfect.  It would take decades for me to undo the damage
those two words left on my brain. Years to learn perfect is the evil of good.
I had to unlearn in order to learn to strive to be healthy, as there is no way to
be perfect AND healthy. Every young gymnast, even Nadia, would later reveal
that obtaining and maintaining that physique led to unhealthy eating habits,
which were detrimental to her health. I didn’t know that then, so I was dieting
to look like her. Parents think kids who are skinny are naturally skinny, so
it doesn’t often raise a red flag. It should. Today, I see young girls who
are way too young to be body conscious, but they’re admiring celebs they
see in magazines that we later learn are airbrushed.  No young girl
or boy should ever be dieting unless it’s under a physician’s care.
 
Even in business, perfectionism isn’t good.  One of my mentors taught me to
“let it go” and not wait for things to be perfect to do.  Again, perfect is the evil of
good because if you wait for things to be perfect, you’ll miss opportunities.
And things will never be perfect.  If you think in your mind that one thing
or one person is holding you back, well it will be replaced with something or
someone else. Don’t wait for circumstances to be perfect or for anything
to be perfect. Life is unpredictable. 
 
If it’s good –it’s good to go.
 
Back to Nadia.  Today, she is a strong advocate on healthy eating. 
Young boys and girls are still exposed to unhealthy images of what their
bodies should look like and it’s detrimental to their health to try to attain that
look. There is no diet in the world that will do for you what good nutrition and daily
healthy habits will do. 
 
Daily healthy habits include eating nutritious meals and snacks, drinking lots of water,
getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, taking vitamins, getting fresh air and sunlight,
and exercising an hour each day (some experts say 45 min. is good enough, even if
it’s walking).  Anything extreme is bad.  You are more likely to stick with habits for the
longterm if they do not exhaust you. Your goal should always be living a healthy lifestyle,
rather than reaching a certain weight.  I do not own a scale.  When I was trying to be
Nadia, I must have weighed myself every hour.  Daily healthy habits enable you
to be fit in mind, body and spirit. I also learned to avoid all magazines, books or
TV programs that encourage dieting or have any unhealthy images in them.

And if I should ever grace the cover of a magazine, I want the headline to be these two words:

SHE’S HEALTHY.
 
 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
p.s.  I couldn’t get text or pics to align perfectly tonight, but I’m happily letting that go.  ;)
 
 
 
newyear
 

When Yogurt Is All Greek to You

There are a lot of choices in the yogurt world.   It used to be we had two.

Plain or with fruit.  Now, there are endless rows of different brands.


Today,  John Stamos brings his woman the BEST yogurt in the world.

She swoons.  He’s smug.

Yet, Jamie Lee Curtis wants us to get ACTIVA with Probiotics.  Is one BETTER?


The real kind of Greek Yogurt from Greece is typically made of sheep’s milk.

Some people will tell you the healthiest yogurt is to make your own.

Images of Lucy & Ethel stomping on grapes just flashed through my brain.  So, let’s go back to already made.

New York Magazine convened a panel of experts for a blind taste test:

The panel included Turkish chef Orhan Yegen of Sip Sak and Bi Lokma, who, according to the magazine, “considers ‘Greek yogurt’ more a marketing gimmick than a bona fide foodstuff”; Maria Loi, a.k.a. “the Martha Stewart of Greece’; and chef Eric Ripert, who eats nonfat Fage every morning.

The Results

The Non-Fat Winner: Fage. This was the judge’s overall favorite.
The Non-Fat Loser: Chobani. Then unpleasant aroma really turned off the judges.
The Full-Fat Winner: Argyle Cheese Farmer. Generally delicious.

The best Fat-Free Plain Yogurt I’ve tried is a toss-up between Chobani ($1.69 for six ounces) and Fage ($1.89 for six ounces). They’re both creamy and around 100 calories for a six-ounce serving.  High in protein.

Dannon always taste the sweetest, but that’s because if you look at the ingredients you’ll find loads of sugar.  Six tablespoons can be heaped into one cup of yogurt.

The one below looks like GREEK, but it’s sugary sweet DANNON in disguise.  Always check the amount of sugar on the label.

So, if you want to eat yogurt to stay healthy your best bet is Fat-Free Plain Greek Yogurt.

You can toss fresh blueberries or strawberries into it to give it added zest!

Other than the above, what should you look for in a yogurt label?

Chris Dankosky at Science Friday on National Public Radio (NPR) had the same question.  He conducted an interview with Jeffrey Gordon, professor of pathology and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He’s also director of the school’s Center for Genome Sciences. 

I’m a little concerned about Dannon partially funding this research, but  let’s take a look at what they found.

CHRIS: Well, I had a question about the different types of yogurt. I know when you walk into a yogurt aisle at any Wal-Mart or any kind of big-box store, there’s so much selection. I was wondering if there’s one type of yogurt that’s better for you than another, and really what it is in the yogurt that we should looking for in the label to find out what it is really that gives us these probiotic benefits.

GORDON: Well, that’s a wonderful question and one of the reasons that we embarked on this set of experiments. We really wanted to create an analysis pipeline, where we could use models – in this case, an animal model where we reconstructed a human gut community – to answer some of the questions that you ask.

We do know that individuals vary in terms of their collection of gut microbes. Even genetically identical twins have somewhat different collections of gut microbes. We know that diet plays an important role in shaping the structure and operations of these communities. There are different types of yogurt. There are different types of fermented dairy products.

As I said in the beginning of this episode, there are – a minimum of two types of bacterial strains that are required to be present in a fermented milk product in order for it to be labeled yogurt.

There are some types of products that have more than these two strains. You can also, as you know, go to supermarkets and various stores and pick up probiotics that have a variety of different components. We really don’t have sufficient information to answer the question you have asked. We do, we think, have a set of tools in a new toolbox to address this.

How do foods and how do gut bacteria interact with one another? Is the nutritional value of food influenced, in part, by the microbes we normally harbor? Can it be further modified by these live microbes we ingest deliberately? And in the future, if we open up a medicine cabinet in the 21st century, can we find – should we discover a series of new probiotics that can enhance the nutritional value of the particular diets that we consume?

DANKOSKY: Well, you mentioned the off-the-shelf probiotics. I know a lot of people are interested in that. If you take probiotics in capsule form, is it different somehow than eating yogurt in the morning?

GORDON: That also is a great question. And just relating to the episode that preceded this one, it’s going to be very important for the formulation of these products to be carefully validated. Is there a set number or an indicated number of live microbes in that formulation as advertised? Do we know the genome sequences of the bugs that are contained in these products? Is manufacturing such that from lot to lot we have consistency? I know that issue of consistency is taken very seriously by the manufacturers of a number of yogurts. But as you indicate, probiotics are sold widely, they’re advertised having very – a variety of different health effect. And for those claims to be validated, we’d need the types of tools that we described in this study and others.

DANKOSKY: I’m John Dankosky. And this is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. The yogurt company Dannon, which partially funded this research that we’re talking about today, recently settled a suit for claiming on its packaging that yogurt can improve digestion and immune system. What do you think of labels like this? Does this study back up these claims?

GORDON: Well, actually, Dannon funded part of our research in order to construct this type of analysis pipeline, to test the types of claims that are being made, not only by themselves but by others. I do think that this particular study indicated that there’s an effect on the digestion of a component of our diet, polysaccharides. There have been other studies in mice, for instance, that shows that certain consortium of bacteria that are found in fermented milk products, including products made by Dannon, may modulate immune function in a way that would be beneficial, at least in the setting of colitis.

So I think that there’s much to learn. I think we have to be very rigorous in terms of testing the claims in order for the public to gain additional trust that we should be equipped to address the complexity of our gut microbial communities in the form of representative animal models, learn from those models, and then design, execute and carefully interpret clinical studies. A lot of public will know.

DANKOSKY: Yeah. Lyle is in Eagle, Michigan. Lyle, a quick question for the doctor?

LYLE: Yeah. After reading the China study, I quit eating dairy and meat. And I was real curious and overjoyed to hear about the billions of bacteria I have in my belly. Good to hear that because I was kind of concerned that because I was not going to eat any more yogurt that maybe there was a challenge. I never really had any issues. I was wondering if your research has gone that way with people that didn’t eat any meat or dairy, and how their bacteria as well as digestions have been affected.

DANKOSKY: Yeah. How is Lyle’s gut, Doctor?

GORDON: Well, I don’t know, Lyle, but thank you for sharing your personal story with me. Lyle, I’ll tell you something. Your thought is a very important one because there is an emerging set of observations, in part, made by our group and others, that diet has a huge effect in shaping the structure and operations of your gut communities. We’ve studied many different mammalian species, including humans, to look at the impact of different diets on how our gut communities are configured. And not billions, Lyle, but trillions of microbes live in our gut. And people on different diets have different gut structures. And when they switch diets, the representation of members of your gut community will change.

It’s part of an important adaptation, part of the fitness. We have to learn how to digest the foods that we eat. As humans, we change what we eat over time. What is the code that relates the nutritional value of what we consume in the structure and operations of our gut communities? That’s going to be a very important issue to address because looking forward, we heard this week that the population of our planet has reached seven billion humans, by 2050, 9 billion humans. What types of crops we plant, what kind of recommendations we make about what to eat in the future will be informed by deeper knowledge of the operations of this vast collection of microbes that live inside of us.

DANKOSKY: Jeffrey Gordon, you eat yogurt every day?

GORDON: I don’t eat yogurt every day, but I do eat yogurt intermittently.

DANKOSKY: OK. And it has any health benefits for you?

GORDON: Not noticeable, but I enjoy the experience.

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Related NPR Stories

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Related Articles
Stay healthy! 


Food for Thought Friday

“Man, he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money in order to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future, that he does not enjoy the present;  the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~Dalai Lama

5 Foods to Lift Your Mood

Senior editor of Caring.com, Paul Spencer Scott says to try these smart choices when your mood needs a little boost.

The right foods — like the following five — can stabilize blood sugar, eliminate mood swings, and boost neurotransmitters in the brain, all factors that influence your emotions.

1. An omelet — just don’t skip the yolk

Eat it for: The B vitamins and protein. Egg yolks are the vitamin-B-rich part of the egg.

Other examples: Lean beef, wheat germ, fish, poultry

Why they help: A diet rich in B vitamins can help lessen the severity of depression symptoms. B vitamins, especially B-6 and B-12, can help improve neural function — the way the neurotransmitters of the brain send signals, which helps govern mood. There’s also a growing link between vitamin B deficiency and depression. A 2010 study of 3,000 older adults followed over 12 years found that those with lower intake of these vitamins had a higher risk of depression, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The protein in eggs (as with lean meats) helps you feel satisfied longer, stabilizing blood sugar. And eggs can be consumed in a variety of ways, from scrambled to used as a French toast batter to boiled and chopped up as a salad topper — so long as you go easy on the accompanying animal products that are high in saturated fats, like bacon or butter.

2. Nuts and seeds

Eat it for: The magnesium

Examples: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, peanuts. (Green leafy vegetables and whole grains are also high in magnesium.)

Why they help: Magnesium, a mineral found naturally in nuts and seeds, influences production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical. Magnesium also affects overall energy production.

Bonus: Nuts are also a good source of protein and healthy fats. And as a whole food, they make a healthy alternative to processed snacks, provided you choose unsalted and unsweetened varieties. Salt and sugared coatings don’t add any health benefits and may make you overeat because they set up cravings in the brain for more and more salt or sugar.

3. Cold-water fish

Eat it for: The omega-3 fatty acids

Examples: Wild salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, tuna (not more than once per week), rainbow trout, mackerel. Fish-oil supplements are a practical alternative for those who don’t eat these cold-water fish at least three times a week, Reardon says.

Why they help: There’s a reason fish is known as “brain food.” Fatty fish such as wild salmon contain the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which has been shown to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of gray matter in the brain. Twenty percent of the gray matter in the brain is composed of DHA. Some studies have found that DHA consumption especially increases gray matter in the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the cingulate, three areas of the brain associated with mood. People with severe depression have less gray matter in these areas.

Fish is also a great source of lean protein, which stabilizes blood sugar. Eating small amounts of protein with meals can help keep your mood on a more even keel.

4. Ancient grains

Eat it for: The complex carbohydrates

Examples: Quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, spelt, barley

Why they help: Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, which means they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar that can create roller-coaster moods. Complex carbs also increase levels of serotonin in the brain.

While any whole grain is good, so-called “ancient grains” are even better, according to Reardon, because they’re less likely to be man-modified and processed. Packaged, processed, and refined foods made with wheat flour and sugar, in contrast, tend to be digested quickly, causing cause blood sugar to spike. When this happens, the body responds with an oversecretion of insulin, which winds up moving too much sugar into cells — and blood sugars plummet. The end result: poorer concentration, fatigue, mood swings, intense cravings, and overeating.

Ancient grains are increasingly available at mainstream grocery stores and big-box stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. Look where rice products are shelved. Many ancient grains can be cooked like pasta or rice and served in their place as side dishes, in casseroles, or as a base for fish or chicken.

Bonus: Some ancient grains are a whole-grain alternative for those who are allergic to wheat or have gluten intolerance. (Barley, though, contains gluten.)

5. Green tea

Drink it for: The amino acid L-theanine

Examples: Hot green tea, brewed iced green tea — including flavored varieties like jasmine green tea or berry green tea

Why it helps: L-theanine is an amino acid found mainly in tea leaves; it’s been shown by EEG tests to stimulate alpha brain waves. This can improve focus while also having a calming effect on the body.

“Despite the caffeine, the L-theanine in green tea seems to be profoundly relaxing, with effects that last up to eight hours,” Reardon says. L-theanine is easily absorbed and can cross the blood-brain barrier, adding to its effectiveness.

Clinical depression is a serious illness that requires treatment beyond nutrition, changing what you eat can help beat garden-variety blues caused by stress, and will boost low energy, too.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, be sure to visit: http://www.caring.com

This content was originally published by Caring.com: “5 Food to Eat When You’re Depressed” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.


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Other non-food things to do

  • Get plenty of sunshine. Natural sunlight is a proven cure for depression.
  • Engage in regularexerciseat least three times per week. Exercise lifts and mood and alters brain chemistry in a positive way.
  • Experience laughter. It’s goodmedicine.
  • Take a quality superfood supplement to get even morenaturalmedicine from the world of plants.

Four more foods for beating depression from Naturalnews.com


Brown Rice:Contains vitamins B1 and B3, andfolic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventingsugarlows and mood swings. Brownricealso provides many of the tracemineralswe need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lowercholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see “instant” on a food label, avoid it.

Brewer’s Yeast:ContainsvitaminsB1, B2 and B3. Brewer’s yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a thimbleful into any smoothie for your daily dose. Thissuperfoodpacks a wide assortment ofvitamins and mineralsin a small package, including 16amino acidsand 14 minerals. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes brewer’s yeast a no-brainer for treating depression.

Cabbage:Contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. There are numerous ways to getcabbageinto your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup orjuiceit. To avoid gas aftereatingcabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cuminseedsbefore cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar-stabilizingfiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a knowncurefor stomach ulcers.

Also worth mentioning:Foods likeraw cacao, dark molasses and brazilnuts(high in selenium) are also excellent for boosting brain function and eliminating depression. Get rawcacaoand brazil nuts atNature’s First Law. Another source for cacao isNavitas Naturals.

Things to avoid

If you feel you are depressed or at risk for depression, you also need to avoid certain foods and substances. Some commonly prescribed drugs — such as antibiotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, pain killers, ulcer drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, birth control pills, highbloodpressure drugs, heart medications and psychotropic drugs — contribute to depression. If you are taking any of these, don’t quit them without talking to yourdoctor; but be aware that they may be contributing to your condition by depleting your body of depression-fighting vitamins and minerals.

You should also avoid caffeine, smoking and foods high infatand sugar. Keeping your blood sugar stable and getting B vitamins is important for stabilizing your mood. Cacao can be good for mood because it releases endorphins inthe brain, but watch out for milk chocolate and candy varieties high in sugar.

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Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/020611.html#ixzz1sJ20Y5CM

Stay healthy! :-)

First Aid for the Soul

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COMMENTS:

  •  Richard Renda Totally Cool ‎– but don’t make “Yourself” the only thing that matters. throwing in an extra 2 cents !!!! always loved this quote. “a penny for the Truth, 2 cents for a heart.” ok there’s my 2 cents : )))
    37 minutes ago · Like ·  1
  • Maria Dorfner

    You’re welcome, Robert. Richard, I agree with your two ♥ cents. It’s simply another version of the Oxygen Mask adage, which a smart person recently shared with me. It’s if there’s an emergency on an airplane and you’re travelling with kids, put your own oxygen mask on first. Why? Because if you pass out, you are in no position to help anyone else survive. It applies on the ground as well. You’ll be of little to no use to the people who depend upon you if you don’t take care of yourself first. The title should actually read: Be good to you, so you can be good to others! ♥

Happy Saint Patty’s Day: Beer Nutrition

By , About.com Guide

Beer and nutrition? You don’t usually see those two words together, but perhaps beer is a bit misunderstood. It may actually be good for you when consumed in very moderate amounts.

Beer has been brewed for just about as long as humans have been cultivating crops and is actually made with some very healthy ingredients. Those ingredients are hops, brewer’s yeast, barley and malt. There are different styles of beer and each style has a distinctive flavor and color. Tasting and learning about the different types of beer is as much fun as tasting and learning about the different types of wine.

Part of a Healthy Diet

Drinking one beer per day may be good for your health because it has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Why? Some experts suggest these reasons:
  • The folate found in beer may help to reduce homocysteine in the blood and lower homocysteine levels mean a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Lab studies have found constituents in beer that lower triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol in mice.
  • Drinking one beer per day reduces blood clotting so some studies found that cardiovascular patients who drank one beer per day also lived longer.

Other studies have found that women who consume one beer each day have improved mental health. Drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages in moderation may also improve bone density.

Of course that doesn’t mean that if one beer is good, three or four must be better. That isn’t true. Drinking more than one beer or any alcoholic beverage per day can put too much alcohol in your system and that isn’t good for you. Heavy drinking has been associated with several health problems, so moderation is definitely the key with drinking beer. The studies also point to one beer per day as being beneficial, not drinking all seven beers in one day per week. That type of binge drinking will overload you system with alcohol too.

The benefits of beer nutrition probably have nothing to do with the alcohol and there are some low-alcohol beers and non-alcohol beers available which offer the same heart-protective effect as regular and light beers.

 

Nutrition Information

According to Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter, Trappist monks drank beer to sustain themselves during their Lenten fasts. They called their beer “liquid bread.”

We don’t tend to think much about the nutritional aspects of beer, but according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one 12-ounce serving of regular beer has the following nutrients:

Beer is actually a good source of folate, niacin, magnesium, potassium and niacin.

Drinking Too Much

While drinking one beer per day may improve your health, heavy drinking will not. In fact heavy drinking has the opposite effect. Heavy drinking is defined as more than 21 drinks per week for women and more than 35 drinks per week for men. Drinking heavily leads to liver damage, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, pancreatic diseases, severe thiamin deficiency and some cancers.

Who Shouldn’t Drink Beer?

Beer drinking isn’t for every one. Some people have personal or religious reasons for not drinking beer or other alcoholic drinks. That’s OK. All of the health benefits of beer can be found in other foods beverages. The following people should not drink beer, or should speak with their doctor before drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages:
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not drink beer. Even small amounts of alcohol can damage a developing fetus.
  • Young people. In the United States the drinking age is 21, in Canada the drinking age is 18 or 19. Other countries vary.
  • People with liver, pancreatic diseases, or really, any type of chronic disease should speak with their doctor.
  • People with gout should avoid beer. Gout is very painful and is triggered by alcohol.
  • People taking any type of medications should speak with their doctor. This includes over-the-counter medications.

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Remember, “healthy drinking” is 1 for women, 2 for men a day.  After that, you’re just loading up on empty calories.  

According to the National Institutes of Health if you knock off 5 or more drinks — you raise your risk of death from a heart attack 30%.  And if you drive — you raise the risk of killing someone else.  If you drink to be cool –the Mom, wife, husband, son or daughter of someone you accidentally killed will beg to differ.

If you don’t drink –you get the same “healthy drinking” benefits from exercise & good nutrition.  

Happy & Healthy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!  :-)

MD

 

10 Hot iPhone Apps for New Parents

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Parenting in the internet age certainly still has its challenges, but tech-savvy parents have several options in the App Store that can help ease some of the stress. Storing important information, accessing records and even entertaining your newborn can all be done with a tap of the screen; here are ten iPhone apps that all new parents should check out.

1. Baby Tracker: Diapers – If your pediatrician asks you to keep a record of Baby’s diapers, the Baby Tracker: Diapers app is a must-have. The simple interface includes a color swatch and texture options, and even has a Notes feature for in-depth documentation.
2. White Noise Lite – Many parents swear by sound machines to soothe babies and help them sleep soundly; the White Noise Lite app offers several options, including nature sounds and traditional white noise. The best part? It’s free.
3. Baby Tracker: Nursing – The folks at Baby Tracker hit another home run with their Nursing app. Mothers who choose to breastfeed can keep track of nursing times, duration and left/right nursing sides. As an extra bonus, there’s also an option for tracking bottle feedings as well.
4. Baby Brain – Created by a team of experienced OB/GYN nurses and moms, the nap-tracking app Baby Brain helps new parents calculate ideal nap times. Entering the time and duration of baby’s daily naps help the app to analyze the information and provide estimates for when subsequent naps should occur. Parents with multiples can track more than one baby, and the interface allows for easy schedule-sharing via email with caregivers.  This one is TOUGH to find but we love it!
5. Parenting Ages & Stages – Popular magazine PARENTING offers a free app to track developmental milestones from birth to school-age, keeping it relevant for years to come. The high-tech version of the baby book.
6. FeverMeds – Unfortunately, low-grade fevers are part of any new parent’s life. The FeverMeds app calculates age and weight to return the ideal dosage of medication to combat those fevers, and also displays pictures of over-the-counter medication boxes in order to eliminate the possibility of choosing the wrong product. It also tracks dosage time and counts down to the next scheduled dose.  Another tough one to find… Sorry, but it’s great!
7. What to Expect – Baby – Generations of moms-to-be have relied upon the wisdom of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The beloved line of books also extends into early parenting and development. The What to Expect – Baby app makes carrying the book everywhere a snap, and also includes daily updates and trackers.
8. BabyPhone Deluxe – Instead of packing a baby monitor for trips or carting it from room to room, consider the BabyPhone app. If noise levels in the room exceed a designated level, the app automatically dials a secondary number to alert parents.
9. Infant Visual Stimulation – With one hundred and twenty black and white images designed to stimulate babies vision, the Infant Visual Stimulation app is a great resource for new parents.
10. Baby Rattle 123 – Leaving Baby’s favorite rattle at home is no longer cause for concern with the Baby Rattle 123 app, which transforms your phone into a visually and auditory stimulation tool.

All new parents need some help, so it is a great idea for the iPhone to serve multiple purposes. Check out the App Store for these and other great apps for new parents. You never knew a phone could do so much.

THANK YOU NANNY NET  - Debbie Denard

BEST NEW PARENTING BLOG: NANNY NET –   http://www.nanny.net/blog/10-iphone-apps-for-new-parents

 

RELATED LINKS:

HOW A BABY TAKES SHAPE INSIDE YOUR BODY:  http://www.babycentre.co.uk/video/pregnancy/baby-takes-shape/

WONDERFUL PBS DOCUMENTARY recommended by author, Michael Gonzalez Wallace:  http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-secret-life-of-the-brain/

50 Best Health Quotes

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50 Best Quotes About Health and Nutrition Selected by Global Healing Center

1. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise”  ~Benjamin Franklin

2. “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  ~John F. Kennedy

3. “The greatest wealth is Health.”  ~Unknown. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

5. “Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy”  ~Author Unknown

6. “Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  ~Edward Stanley

7. “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”  ~Unknown

8. Healthy is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.  ~Unknown

9. “Garbage in garbage out”  ~George Fuechsel

10. “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”  ~Doug Larson

11. “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”  ~B.K.S. Iyengar

12. “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”  ~Common sense

13. “In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  ~Author Unknown

14. “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”  ~Josh Billings

15. “Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.”  ~Denis Waitley

16. “From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”  ~Catalan Proverb

17. “Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.”  ~Joseph Addison

18. “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  ~Jim Rohn

19. “Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one.”  ~Astrid Alauda

20. “Mainstream medicine would be way different if they focused on prevention even half as much as they focused on intervention…”  ~Anonymous

21. “Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”  ~William Shakespeare

22. “The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.”  ~Robert C. Peale

23. “Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”  ~Hannah Green

24. “My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass”  ~Leslie Grimutter

25. “The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”  ~Chinese Proverb

26. “The best doctor gives the least medicines.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

27. “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”  ~Thomas Edison

28. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”  ~Proverb

29. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones..”  ~Proverbs 17:22

30. “True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington”  ~Anonymous

31. “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”  ~Mark Twain

32. “To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”  ~William Londen

33. “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”  ~Spanish Proverb

34. “To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.”  ~Buddha

35. “Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you’ve met your New Year’s resolution.”  ~Jay Leno

36. “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.. stay away from these”  ~Michael Pollan

37. “Health is a relationship between you and your body”  ~Terri Guillemets

38. “He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.”  ~Chinese Proverb

39. “Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot.”  ~Dutch Proverb

40. “Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.”  ~Cicero

41. “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”  ~Irish Proverb

42. “Water, air, and cleanliness are the chief articles in my pharmacopoeia.”  ~Napoleon I

43. “The ‘I’ in illness is isolation, and the crucial letters in wellness are ‘we’.”  ~Author Unknown

44. “Health of body and mind is a great blessing, if we can bear it.”   ~John Henry Cardinal Newman

45. “Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.”  ~Mike Adams

46. “It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.”  ~Meryl Streep

47. “Healing in a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”  ~Hippocrates

48. “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”  ~Plato

49. “Health is merely the slowest way someone can die.”  ~Author Unknown

50. “By cleansing your body on a regular basis and eliminating as many toxins as possible from your environment, your body can begin to heal itself, prevent disease, and become stronger and more resilient than you ever dreamed possible!”  ~Dr. Edward Group III

[Source:  www.globalhealingcenter.com  "The 50 Best Quotes About Health and Nutrition Selected by Global Healing Center's Facebook Fans"]